Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Creativity with a Deadline

I know I have no excuse for not keep this blog updated regularly, and the guilt weighs heavy on my shoulders because I have failed to keep my end of the blog a week goal I proposed at the beginning of the year. Over the next few weeks I hope to rectify my failures of the past by pumping out a number of high quality blogs at the rate of Ford factories in the 30’s.

During my hiatus I’ve learned a few lessons about creativity; one: the only way a person isn’t creative is if they don’t try and two: it doesn’t have to come natural to be quality.

On consecutive weekends around the beginning of the month I tested myself in feats of creativity with a hard deadline. I realized as much as I just want to sit around a wait for the muse to put me in a trance where I have the ability to shit out golden nuggets, it seems I have an uncanny knack to put of making something until my back is up against the wall with the demon-like creature, in the shape of a deadline, breathing steaming timelines in my face.

The fact is that I’ve known this for a long time, but I tricked myself into believing otherwise. When I was in high school, I never started a paper until the night before it was due. There was one time that I actually sat down, planned out the paper and finished it with enough time to be edited by more than my parents the morning before it was due. The week prior to the deadline I beamed with pseudo-confidence, not from writing a quality paper, but from following the said rules for getting an “A” on a paper. There was no doubt I’d get an “A,” and when the day arrived to have the papers handed back, I sat tall knowing the golden fleece of proper writing technique would shield me from a poor grade. Then the teacher started to talk about all the mishaps students made. As he spoke, I realized I committed every one of the writing blunders he shunned. The golden fleece evaporated leaving a residue of guilt that couldn’t be covered up with the knowledge that I’d followed procedure. He ended the speech by saying “this was the shittiest batch of papers I’ve ever read.” Needless to say I wasn’t surprised when the giant red “D” stared back at me.

From that day on, I swore to stick with what I knew worked; put off the paper to the last possible moment and then crank out the gems. This process reached the peak of efficiency during one of my last semesters of college when I had a ten-page term paper due for my five o’clock class. I didn’t even write my name on the page until noon the day it was due. I cranked out an “A” product with the professors comments of; “This is an extremely interesting paper on an extremely interesting topic. Nice Work.”

Then I graduated and all deadlines vanished from my life. Now, I sit at my computer and painstakingly write draft after draft of short stories I’ll never send out. Even if I did finish one, I would go through six drafts before I would consider it near the realm of a started work worth pursuing. Yet, my sub-conscious was catching up with me. Most nights when I went to bed I had elaborate dreams that involved me running from some sort of demonic presence. I reasoned that it was nothing more than the result of playing too much Mrs. Pac-Man before I went to sleep, but, in reality, it was the only available outlet to simulate my need for a deadline. I need that ominous time stalking my every move to get me moving in the direction of creativity. In the next two blogs under this title, I will be sharing the fruits of my creative endeavors, whose sole existence is directly related to the fact they were held to the standard of deadlines.

No comments: