Opus 2

It’s strange how once you take an interest in something, the world adapts to offer you relevant wisdoms and ideas. Ever since I started creating, I’ve stumbled into a lot of unusual situations where strangers halfway around the world seem to know exactly what my life is like. Some of those coincidences are downright uncanny.

A few weeks ago, I read a remarkable post by Nicholas O’Neill. In his post, he talks about writing words as a relief to writing music then mentions his recent successes in writing. In his own words, ‘I have to say that the notes are much harder to get together, much more frustrating as a medium, and I look upon my verbal tappings as a kind of light relief, letting off steam while the cogs and wheels grind through harmonies at the back of my brain.’

I’ll explain how this relates to me. My two passions are writing fiction and composing, but until recently, I suffered from a bad case of writer’s block. Perfectionism was the cause—every time I tried to write, I’d get paralysed by the pressure of writing well. Eventually, I took a break from writing to become a (bad) composer.

So far, I’ve found composing more enjoyable than writing, but it’s not because I like writing less. It’s because I think less when I compose. I compose through impulse, not knowledge or technique, and I feel justified in doing so because I have low expectations of myself as a composer. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to improve. It means that I place no pressure on myself as a composer and rarely think further ahead than enjoying the composing journey.

Ever since I realised that caring less makes creating more enjoyable, I’ve been trying to channel careless creativity into my stories. I have a hunch that it’s possible, but I’m finding it difficult. Perhaps it’s just hard to disguise love; there is no subject that I love more than that of literature. No matter how many times I tell myself that writing is easy, all I have to do is to think of all the wonderful stories that made me want to write, and my pen stops dead.

One thing is certain: reverence kills creativity. In fact, the best way to create may be by being light-hearted. Nicholas O’Neill’s post seems to confirm this; he was contacted by a magazine to write an article for it. And, as is clear from the quote above, he writes beautifully. You don’t have to find something hard to be good at it.