The Creative Clock: Parallels Between Artists and Parents

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February 21, 2013 by katmcdaniel

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Is your creative clock ticking? Learn to listen and adapt to its messages without becoming fearful and completely stressed out.

We often hear of the biological clock. Women, or, less frequently, men, wake up mid-life with the blinding urge to have a child. Artists frequently have the same urge, but it manifests in the desire to create a new thing rather than a new person. This need is both a gift and a vulnerability. The would be artist and the would be parent can fall victim to the same traps, some of which are explored below.

I found someone who is the answer to my problems!

Aging can play tricks on us if we focus on the clock. We may feel miles away from our dreams or maybe we have fulfilled or outgrown those dreams and are in need of new ones. This realization can dawn suddenly with panic or creep in with a sense of dread. Either way, we can become easy prey for insincere people who sense and may even share our desperation. Any human being who claims to be your savior probably has ulterior motives. Seeing another human being as such may mean you yourself are operating with ulterior motives.

See yourself in a more positive light. You are not a victim and you don’t need rescuing.

Everybody is doing it!

No, they aren’t. Take a closer look at people outside of your regular circle. If you are attempting a way of life solely out of peer pressure, it will never feel like it is yours and you and your offspring, human or artistic, will suffer. Most of the time the skill set we have been given and have further developed is not suited to what our neighbor is doing. If you have been slugging away at a particular career for a while and it doesn’t feel right to you, consider something that uses the skills you have honed while converting the weaknesses you have found in yourself into strengths.

© Brian Snelson with CCLIcense

© Brian Snelson with CCLIcense

The world around you needs you and your genuineness, not another clone. Keep it real!

I have found my path, so now it will be easy!

I teach voice lessons. Every now and then I see one of my less motivated students catch the fire of inspiration and start working and owning their work, only to get a smack at their next performance or contest. Why, they ask, didn’t they get rewarded when they applied themselves? Creative acts are not about instant gratification. Sometimes there is no gratification at all.

© Erik Solheim with CCLicense

© Erik Solheim with CCLicense

Once you decide to get creative, realize that this new baby is going to take loads of time and energy. She’s going to keep you up at night for years because she cannot take care of herself. You’re going to be cleaning up her mess for a long time. Then she will get to the age when she may disappoint you.

Anything I make will be beautiful, smart, and high quality! 

There is one guarantee: your offspring will not turn out as you expect. A child has a life outside of you. So does art. As your art matures, it will go places you never dreamed with people you never imagined. Sometimes this is an amazing experience and sometimes it is a nightmare. You have to let go and let your offspring enter the world, where they will be judged, loved and hated. There will be bullies who throw rocks. You will need to stand by with unconditional love, even when you can see faults and shortcomings. Not only is it okay to be an imperfect human, it is what we are supposed to be. Art is our creation, so it is imperfect too.

Paisley Abbey Gargoyle Image © Colin with CCLicense

Paisley Abbey Gargoyle
Image © Colin with CCLicense

If I ignore my creative clock it will stop ticking and leave me alone!

Perhaps, but the price for silencing a basic human need is expensive. Things like addiction, violence and apathy can muffle it. We can distract ourselves, but we will never be whole people without the creative impulse. When you find a direction for that impulse, take it. You may lose your way, but what you will find might just be better.

No one understands me!

Remember to look around you. While no one has the same exact path you do, others may be close by. Synkroniciti is out here and if we see you we will wave, say Hello, maybe even walk with you for a little while. We hope you will do the same for us. There is plenty of daylight left and we have lights when it gets dark.

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