Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Guest Post: Glenn Ghiazza - Making Time vs. Finding Time to Be Creative
This is the first of what I hope will be many guest posts for my good friend Michael O’Connor’s new creative project.
So, I have these creative impulses that I feel need to be expressed in some way… but, well, you know, I’m so busy, work is crazy, the kids practices and games never seem to stop and then there is all that housework and shopping and errands that need to be run, etc, etc, etc, and well, I’ll find time one of these days to shoot those photos I’ve wanted to take, or flesh out that short story or poem that has been swimming around in my head for weeks now and get it down on paper, or figure out the notes and chords for that music I keep hearing in the back of my brain, or maybe I’ll put some watercolors on canvas and paint that scene I constantly see in my mind. Sound familiar?
The fact of life is there just aren’t enough hours in the day, are there? Cliché, sure, but oh, so true. And that’s a dilemma, at least for those of us with grand ambitions of doing creative things. Why? Because the creative act takes time. Depending on how you choose to express yourself it can be a real grind to translate that vision in your head into something tangible you can share with others. The idea that a flash of inspiration leads to a feverish burst of activity and voilà, creative perfection - well, it just doesn’t work that way most of the time (unless you are the reincarnation of Amadeus Mozart).
So how do you find time to be creative with all the other demands on your time? The simple answer is - you don’t! Meaning you don’t FIND the time, you MAKE the time. Big difference there. Making the time means making creativity a priority in your life. It means giving up some other leisurely (and maybe not so productive) pursuits to spend some time really expressing yourself. If you’ve got any creative impulses at all, this should be a priority. If you’ve got anything to say or share with the world, eventually you’ll find that not doing so is simply not an option if you want to lead a fulfilling life. For any creative act is really about sharing a part of yourself and the more you share with others, the more you get back and the richer your life becomes.
Now, I’m not an expert on this. In fact this is a concept I have struggled with my whole life. It’s only lately I’ve come to the realization that if I don’t start making creativity a priority, if I don’t start MAKING time for my creative pursuits, that I will end up with too many things left unsaid and undone and unshared when it’s all over. Our time here is short, and some of us take a little while longer to realize this than others. If you’ve already figured that out, well, good for you! You’re already two steps ahead of the game. Personally, I feel like I’m two steps behind at this point.
So, I’ve finally identified what needs to be done, even if it only took me half a century… almost. I’ve finally come to accept that I am not immortal and if I don’t get off my ass and make the time to start shooting and writing and everything else I want to do, I’ll be on my deathbed some day wishing I had.
So now what? How do I actually go about MAKING time to do these things? I’m still figuring that out but I’ve got some ideas. My main creative pursuit these days is photography. As of right now, I haven’t taken a picture in weeks. Why? The rational side of my brain says I’ve been too busy. But that irrational, crazy side of my brain is telling me that’s all bullshit and just an excuse. Which is right? I’m thinking I need to start listening to that crazy side of the brain. Okay, the ‘I’m busy’ excuse is bullshit. Let’s plan a little. I shoot a lot of scenic photography. There is this thing called the ‘Golden Hour’. It’s right around sunrise or sunset. The sun is low on the horizon and filtered through the atmosphere more so you get those golden glows and soft, warm light. I can’t always guarantee I can be available to shoot at sunset time. But you know what? I’m not at work when the sun rises. No excuse not to be out there shooting when the sun comes up, is there? Except for the fact that I have never been a morning person. I am the antithesis of a morning person. I don’t hit my stride until we are in the PM hours and I have at least about 60 - 80 ounces of coffee in me. So now it comes down to a choice. Is that extra hour or two of sleep worth more than making some really cool photographs? In the past it may have been, but I don’t think so any more. Time to set the alarm and get my ass out of bed.
That is just one example but it can apply to anything. Want to write? Get up early or stay up late. “There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead”. Heard that one before? Maybe it’s true. Will your ass be dragging for a bit? Probably. Will you care when you’ve got a poem or story to publish, something you can share? Probably not. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Bottom line - if you are on this website and reading this blog you are creative in some way. If you aren’t already making the time to be creative then start now - make the time! No excuses. Time is short, even if you don’t realize it yet. As for me, I’ve got to get up early, there are photos to shoot.