I have a lot of creative friends. It’s inspiring to see all of the art and music that has been going up during the quarantine. But I’m noticing some of my friends (including myself) are going through something I call creative guilt. In the pre-pandemic world, day-jobs and other social commitments were a good excuse for not being more creative. With all the sheltering in place it would seem like now is the perfect time to start churning out the art. But for some reason it’s still hard to get motivated, or the well still feels a little dry.
Instead of allowing creative guilt to set in, I’ve been trying to look at my creative process more like being a farmer or a baker. I want my songs to be useful to people. I want to connect with and feed people, not just rack up a long list of accomplishments so I can tell myself I’m in the Bob Dylan songwriter’s club.
I’m officially calling bullshit on the idea that there’s some kind of quota or watermark that you have to hit to consider yourself a “real” artist. There’s enough ego-driven noise in the world already.
I’m not saying that transitional periods aren’t fascinating when it comes to one’s creative arc. But there are tons of examples of great artists with a minimal output that totally blow away others who are sitting on a big pile of mediocrity.
If you’re not feeling it right now don’t sweat it. Go on a walk. Hone your craft. Spend some time appreciating someone else’s work. It has been my experience that if something has to come out, it’ll come out eventually and usually just when it needs to. And if it doesn’t… try baking some bread. At least you’ll have something to make a nice sandwich with.
Hopefully, this month’s playlist will give you a little chance to appreciate the moment you’re in. – Thanks for listening, MMM
This month’s playlist includes songs by Lankum, Jackson Browne, Prewar Yardsale, FACS, The Bluebeats, John Prine, The Beacon Sound Choir, The Wolfgang Press, Lou Reed, Loose Fur, Buck Meek, Low, Hum, Frank Sinatra
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