Again, I thank you for all the insightful comment I got from my previous post – “Where Am I?” Each one of them is like a brightly-lit candle to guide me in my search for clarity. My humble thanks.
My search so far had led me to this:
“My desperation of becoming a published writer had me pushing myself to a corner. The result is my creativity froze up and the stories no longer sparkle.”
While writing up the “Where Am I” post, I have also started a Q & A session with myself.
Q: When does a writer become a “writer”?
A: When I have a short story or a book published by a prominent publisher.
Q: What if you have 1 short story published by a little known journal once? Are you a writer or not?
A: Probably not …
Q: So when do you think you’re a writer?
A: Maybe when I have more stories published … maybe when I’m earning my living from writing … maybe when both my ideas and prose flow without effort …
Q: So you don’t know when you’ll be a writer?
Q: Or you have another sixty millions rules to fulfil before you become a writer?
Q: You know what? If those are your criteria, you’ll NEVER be a writer because whatever you do, you’re never there!
A: (Silent) (I could feel tears coming up.)
Q: Sorry mate, you can cry as much as you want, but I’m going to throw you these …
You have let all these rules and the idea of a “published writer” take away the things which make you write …
You write not because you want to be a “published writer”.
You write because you enjoy the “high” that you got when you finally know what the story is.
You write because you love to see that your writing language takes on a new shape after hours/days/months / years of writing stories.
You write because you love to be amazed and amused by creativity.
You write to see what else has been buried deep in your core, your soul and your spirit.
You write because that is what you do.
I’m putting a halt to this Q & A session as I have realised something.
My mind has been so fixed on publication as the final price that I had undermined every one of my writing achievements. I have extinguished my own creative fire because I mistook publication as the ultimate energy source to fuel my writing. I was wrong! The source was never ever from the outside. It came from within. It came from the sparks, the “high” and the discovery which writing had brought me!
I won’t say that this realization had swept away all my frustration. But it helped to “re-claim” my creative self.
Also on second thought, I don’t think the frustration will ever be totally gone. As a creative being, we are always seeking new horizon of our chosen art form. And with each new adventure, we’ll always encounter new problems which will always lead to new frustration. Hence, frustration is inherent in all creative acts. Perhaps instead of viewing frustration as something that is ugly, horrible and negative, we should welcome it. For it signifies that we are embarking on a new journey.
I think this should about conclude my journey to understand creative frustration. I thank you all my dear, dear fellow creatives for listening and sharing. But most of all, for catching me when I fall. I'm eternally grateful!