“We must do creative work for the inside of us, not the reaction of the outside world.” – SARK
I am needy. I hate to admit this, I’m embarrassed to admit it. But I am. I crave approval. I want pats on the back, and congratulatory speeches and kudos. I want a Princess crown and a seat of honour and a best in show certificate.
And I want this at every single thing I do.
This is not good. It stifles you. It weighs heavily upon creativity and slows you down.
I have read, and reread the words of SARK, quoted above. I get it, cerebrally, but I don’t get it emotionally. When I create something, I want it to be recognised and praised. To me, that’s the whole point.
And yet it is so NOT the point.
I dabble my toes in the water of many different forms of creativity, and never get any further than that with any of them, and this is why. I give something a go, and then sit back and wait for the crowds of well-wishers, the trumpet fanfares, the bouquets flung onto the stage.
And they don’t come. It’s mortifying. Worse still is the next stage. I go, needy and slightly whiny, to my desired audience, and request feedback, in a gently passive aggressive way. Sometimes, I will seek the opinion of a loved one on my work. We both know I don’t want their opinion really, I want a gold star, but you can’t come right out and ask for that. There are certain protocols to being an adult.
But it doesn’t work, they never say the right thing, or they don’t say it enough times or with enough emphasis.
I sulk. I abandon the project and refuse to talk about it ever again.
Or at other times, if my creativity has found an outlet in some form of crafting, I may offer to make something for a loved one or friend.
Heaven help you if you are on the list of my potential crafting recipients. It’s a weighty responsibility.
The first hurdle to be got over is your reception of my offer. If you are very very clever, you will pick up on my initial hints, dropped like bait into the water. If you are wise and compassionate, you will immediately seize upon these hints, and fervently beg to be allowed to receive one of my pet projects.
But sadly, not even the closest of my loved ones, who know me so well, tend to pick up on my hints. I am forced to come out into the open, and make an Offer. I do this casually, of course, because, y’know, it’s cool if you don’t want my crafting (it really isn’t). This is probably your last chance. Jump at it, if you have any love or pity for me. Seize it eagerly. It allows me to leave with some shred of my dignity. We can both pretend it was your idea.
Or you could be quite honest, and say, no thanks.
There are certain advantages to this course – primarily, I will never ask you again.
I may never speak to you again either, so you’ll have to weigh that up too. I may even tell everyone, with hot indignation, how you spurned me.
(They will sympathise with you, don’t worry.)
But let’s assume you said yes. You might even be genuinely excited about it. Let’s hope so. You will need that to get you through the next few stages.
- Planning. I will bug you, to the point of madness, about what I am to make, and in what colours, and which style, and what exactly do you want, and are you sure? Are you sure???
- Making. You will need progress reports and photos/show’n'tells at every stage. Every half stage. There will not be a step along the way that you will not share with me. You will feel that it would have been easier to make the thing yourself. You may be right. But we’re in this together now, and don’t you forget it.
- Giving. This is the most critical stage. Much depends on how you receive this project. My nerves will be strung out. I have already made up my mind that this things Sucks, and that you will Hate It. I will be in a state of bitter resentment, directed mainly at you. Why did I agree to this? Why did I think I could do it? Whatever you do, do NOT be honest about how you feel or what you think of it. Even if I set a crafty trap for you, by pointing out its flaws and mistakes myself. Coo. Squeal. Make little moaning sounds. Hold it to your chest. If you can produce a few tears, better still.
- Maintenance. Oh yes, you thought this was over, but it’s not. I need you to tell me, every time I see you, how amazing it is. How much you love it. How and where and when you are using it. How much you appreciate my work. How talented I am. How I should really sell/exhibit my work. Bonus points if you can get your friends/family to mention to me how much you love it and how amazing it is.
So, there you have it. I am a High Maintenance Creative. How you go from that to creating just for the fun of it, just for your own satisfaction, I have no idea. If you know, do tell me.
I might even make you something, as a thank you gift.
You’ll love it, I promise.