The Meaning To An End
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The Meaning To An End

Mental blocks aren't always the problem when creating something new.

The Meaning To An End
Daily Dot Media

I feel like a stereotype, sitting at my laptop and staring blankly at my screen, that blinking little line awaiting a command from my hovering fingers. I’ve got what is perhaps a few paragraphs or so of a concept I’ve been mulling over for the past few days, but my pace has slowed to an agonizing crawl. Eventually, I’ll leave it alone -- on a hiatus for what is most likely infinity. Occasionally, I’ll go back to an old idea and work on it a little bit, but I’ll ultimately abandon it for some other new idea.

My Google Drive is filled with these fragments of stories and articles, a graveyard of my deserted thoughts and ideas. The trouble with being a writer is not always coming up with ideas or figuring out what happens next -- it’s actually putting pen to paper and making it happen. I see this with my other writer friends, my artist friends, my composer friends, my filmmaker friends. We’re always working on something new, but we don’t always finish. Perhaps it’s because we don’t like what we’ve produced so far, or that the task ahead just seems so daunting. When we write stories or make videos for school, we have a guideline to follow, a general idea to go off of, and a deadline to finish it. We follow the rubric and build our ideas, all within a specific time frame. None of that applies to our hobby. We have only our experience and our ideas to guide us.

But I think the main reason behind it is that we creative folk tend to be very self-critical of ourselves. I can look at a sketch my friend drew and think it looks awesome -- but he’ll end up trashing it because he hated how it turned out, and vice versa. It’s hard to get past that mental barrier. Sometimes I wonder if Stephen King or Beethoven have ever felt reluctant on one of their pieces, or if there was a reason why Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” was never published until after her death. How many unfinished drafts from history’s major artistic have never been seen by the public eye?

Whatever the case, I have major respect for the people that do manage to put something out there. Even if it’s not a masterpiece, the amount of effort that goes into finishing a piece (whether it be from a book to a video game to a movie) and working up the courage to put it out is astounding. I myself have only finished a few drafts of my ideas -- perhaps one day one of those will be brought into the daylight and published. The things that I have finished and shown to others does bring an air of self-satisfaction. Even though I usually don’t think it could be as good as it turned out, I’m proud that I finished it.

So my advice to all my fellow writers, artists, composers, filmmakers, and performers: stick with it. Feel free to take a small break, but keep working whatever you’re working on. Things take time to complete -- don’t be afraid if it doesn’t turn out the way you want to the first time. The more you complete projects, the better you’ll get at it. Don’t be afraid of criticism from others; it can usually be helpful to your progress. Good luck!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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