I’m beginning to realise, foolishly late, just how much of creativity is actually work – not playfulness, not an escape or a sanctuary, but unavoidable, grinding work, like chores or a job.
Let me explain where this realisation came from. I’ve been absent from this blog for a long time to focus on my other hobby: writing fiction. I have serious issues with perfectionism when I write, but about a month ago, I thought about all the time that I was wasting waiting for the pressure to write well to go away. I sat down and pushed until the words started coming, and since then, I’ve managed to develop that initial effort into a tentative habit. It’s a huge relief to finally write regularly, but the relief is mingled with disappointment: forcing myself to write – regardless of my mood or level of energy – feels more like a commitment than a passion.
This has made me return to composing. I’m actually not in the mood to compose, but my experiences with writing have taught me that if I put off composing until I want to do it, I will never compose often enough to get better at it, and making music is definitely something that I want to improve at.
It’s an odd feeling to be reluctantly engaging in what I once decided would be a pure hobby. But I’m not bitter. I still think of composing as a hobby, but with more structure. Besides, something tells me that if I weather these initial stages of dullness, I’ll eventually find the middle ground between obligation and enjoyment.