TSLS 0022 - Your creative work has value.
When I started writing my spoken word poetry collection earlier this year, I had this constant nagging feeling that because of everything going on it wasn’t the right time to finish it, because it didn’t seem important enough.
Why create a spoken word album when all of this was happening and was so much more important?
Why create a spoken word album when speaking on political subjects instead might help someone more?
I tried to Google my pain to see if anyone else could relate, or to see if Google would have some kind of magical measuring stick or perfect timeline for when I would finally feel okay about creating fictional works again without feeling guilty about it.
I typed in, “Is my work important enough?” which, as smart as Google is, it couldn’t possibly have an answer for.
What I was looking for was permission to complete it.
It was about heartbreak, which, compared to everything else that was going on in the world then and now...doesn’t even seem like it should be in the top ten of things we should be worrying about in our society and lives. There’s poverty, war, modern slavery, racism. Ridiculous laws being brought into our world by greed every single day. How will a spoken word album about heartbreak help any of this? I thought.
As a black, female, and a member of the LGBT community there’s almost always something that will seem more important than fictional works. Something to protest, something I can be angry about if I want to be. There are countless injustices happening at any one time; but there comes a time where you realise that you can’t always carry all of this pain on your shoulders all the time, because frankly it is exhausting.
So what I realised was that there will always be more important things I could protest or champion or fight for, yes - but to even have the energy to take those issues on, you sometimes have to create for yourself first; create things that light your soul up, that make you happy, or you’ll burn out from all the stress (and that helps no one).
It’s okay to create something even if the only reason you have to do it is because your heart tells you to. This is how you will open up your greatest revelations. And another thing:
Importance is subjective.
Heartbreak might not seem all that important to write about in relation to other issues that are going on at the moment, but to someone who is going through it right now, it is number one — the most important issue in the world.
I would never go up to someone and minimise their pain by comparing it to other issues I believed were more important, so I have vowed not to do that to my art.
It’s okay if your next piece of art doesn’t solve every single one of the world’s problems, that’s too much pressure to put on anyone. And so feeling that your art is “not important enough” is simply irrational. It’s a different manifestation of the fear of creating something and wasting your time. It prevents you from doing something great before you even begin, and that’s no good at all.
So, you listen to me:
Time spent creating art is never wasted.
It’s not your duty to analyse the thing the Universe is telling you to create. Ridiculous or serious, fiction or non fiction: your work is a bold statement about your personal freedom, the way you choose to express yourself, and your power to speak out — no matter what form it takes. And the world will always need that.
This is me, giving you permission to create the art you want — because, your latest work might be the single piece of work that changes your life.
You literally, simply don’t know...but this is your permission to try.
And remember, you’re not alone in these thoughts.
Everything you love today was once nothing but a doubtful idea in the mind of a neurotic creator.
Over to you:
Have you ever felt that your creative work wasn't quite important enough? Let me know in the comments section below.