On being recklessly creative

I suffer from a somewhat aggressive case of nostalgia. Like, sometimes a wave of nostalgia just hits me, and I start whipping out my old journals, old stories, and sorting through old videos and photos.




In doing this, I always get struck with the same realization: When I was little, I created stuff constantly. I wrote hundred-paged stories, daily journal entries, and depressing teenager-y poetry. My friend and I would make (what we thought were) the funniest little movies of all time, and I'd prop up my point-and-shoot camera in the backyard and take artsy self portraits. I didn't care about the lighting. I didn't stop and think if my poems were any good. I didn't restrict my journal writing to only the "successful days." I didn't read or edit my stories as I went along-- I just kept writing.



I miss that. I miss being recklessly creative.
I miss being able to create new things without it ever feeling like work, without constantly being restricted by the need to be "good," without worrying about being pretentious, or worrying about being dumb.

Now, I know a lot of this is part of growing up. When you grow up, fun only becomes one of the motivators (and usually, one of the less prioritized ones). When we're really dedicated to our art (whether it be painting or dancing or writing, etc), we focus on improvement, success, self-fulfillment, goals, and the future. If we're lucky, fun is a bi-product of the rest. This isn't necessarily bad, because more caring means more effort, and more effort means more results. But it does feel a little less free, doesn't it?

 
Since starting this blog, I've been hooked on the idea of creation. I'm fascinated by people who make their own business, their own platform, their own art, and with it, their own life. What an idea: to not merely live inside the perimeters of life, but create and define your own life from the bottom up. I think that sounds amazing. But what I've realized since starting this blog, this creative outlet that holds me accountable to continue creating, is that somewhere along the line, creativity becomes work. I don't have tons of experience with all of this (yet), but I've noticed a few things from watching others. You can't build a life off of writing stories that you never edit or read-over. You can't build a life taking photos without any consideration for lighting or quality. You have to pull yourself out of bed every morning and stop procrastinating on the internet, and you have to learn how to keep creating even if it doesn't feel fun.

Here's the paradox: We want to find success doing creative things, because it's fulfilling and enjoyable. And so we work, and try (really hard) to be as good as we can. But work, or the desire to be "good" doesn't breed creativity. Sometimes we build up our work, our goals, and our desires to be like the walls in an increasingly-narrow hallway: you might eventually get where you want to go, but there's barely any room for creativity to flourish while you're in there.

Here's a relevant quote (via Pinterest):

In between goals is this thing called life, and is has to be lived and enjoyed. 

I want to work hard, get better, and make a life that I can define for myself. I also want to be recklessly creative and run around in the sunlight, splashing paint and snapping pictures. The key, of course, is balance.

That always seems to be the answer to everything, doesn't it? Balance. The annoying thing is, balance is also the hardest thing to maintain. (Everybody falls over sometimes.)

What do you think, is it possible to work really hard at creating things, while still being recklessly creative? Let me know!

♡ Julia

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15 comments

  1. I don't have any advice on this matter as for the longest time I thought I have zero creativity. It's not until a couple of years ago that I found out that I'm actually really good in the kitchen creating dishes and playing around with ingredients. I think most of us think that creativity equals to drawings, arts, music....but it actually comes in many different forms. I say just go what your creative vibe brings you, the balance will come later.

    ps: How am I not following you on Bloglovin?! I thought I did! Followed now!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    1. That's a really great point! Yeah creativity totally comes in all shapes and sizes, everybody just has to find their own!
      Thanks, Shireen!!

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  2. Because I studied interior design in university and now work as a fashion blogger I feel I'm still as creative as I were when I was little (maybe with less imagination though). It's a different kind of creativity but still. Blogging is definitely a great way to be creative!

    XoXo,

    Tamara - LoveofMode.com

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    1. That's a good point, we're still being creative but just a different type. Thanks for reading, Tamara!

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  3. "What an idea: to not merely live inside the perimeters of life, but create and define your own life from the bottom up." Lately this is all I have been thinking about I am so glad I am not alone. What a great post!!

    Life is just Rosie

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  4. Julia, I just read this book about Willie Sutton (can't remember the author) but in it he mentioned how none of us are living in the present, we're all either stuck in the past or planning for the future. I thought about that quote while reading your post. It can be hard learning how to balance preparing for the future with living creativity and fearlessly in the moment. I think (as corny & cliche as it sounds) that we just have to choose our own balance. Some people are perfectly fine living/planning for the future, while some people choose to stay in the moment, you know?

    ZAUNITANÍL.COM

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    1. I'll have to check out the book! I'm definitely a future type of person, but I totally get that everybody has their own balance! That makes sense. Thanks for reading, Zauni!

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  5. Creativity comes in waves for me. Sometimes I'll not write anything for a week; others I'll write non stop all day. :)

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

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    1. So true! That always happens to me, also!

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  6. I recently saw an art project called 'Alantutorial' by Alan Resnick, I don't know if you've heard of it, it is incredibly creepy and disturbing, but the meaning behind it is the same and it has been constantly in my mind for the last month. Some people start doing something because they like it, but the hunt of money and success sometimes makes you suffer more than what you can enjoy, also, when having both of them, maybe as a natural change, someone can stop liking it but they feel forced to keep doing it; I think the key is to find a balance, both things aren't really separated if someone tries, it may be exhausting and that's why it's important to know when to take a break. I paint as well and I forced myself to do it everyday to the point I wasn't enjoying it anymore, now I do it every other day and whenever I want, it makes me practice while relaxes me. Lovely post, Julia, you have a beautiful way to express what you are thinking.

    Cy | Dulce de Mango

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    1. I'll have to look that up-- it sounds really interesting! I totally agree. Everyone wants to be successful but it's not worth it if you're forcing yourself to do something you no longer enjoy.
      Thanks so much, Cy!

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  7. i really love this post. and it's so cool that you mentioned creating recklessly as a kid because i used to do the exact same thing. i feel like i kind of create recklessly now. because my schoolwork (and eventually my career) don't really involve a lot of creativity, i let out all my ideas in a random, sporadic way haha. and i think you're right about balance. without the reckless element, the art loses a bit of its creativity and uniqueness. but the hard work and development are totally necessary to give things value

    http://hellokuo.blogspot.com/

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    1. I agree 100%! Thanks so much for reading, girl :)

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  8. This is a great post! Yeah we need to find balance in everything we do, It´s hard but with time we can do it! :)
    http://hairandvibes.blogspot.com

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