Friday, July 09, 2010

The chore of creating

Should creating art ever feel like a chore?

I'm of two minds on this, but the fact is that, clearly, sometimes it does. Marc Ellerby has recently announced that the fabulous Ellerbisms will end shortly, for that reason amongst others, and, just a few moments ago, Brian Brown admitted that Bellen! has invoked a similar dread in him for some time now.

On the one hand, I'd like to think that being creative is a non-stop blast; or at least full of highs amongst few lows. If you're doing it right, would be an important caveat, I guess. But, really, that's naive. I've read enough books on writing to know that making a living at it requires a lot of discipline. (King talked about his daily 8 a.m. to noon ritual in On Writing.) Heck, even blogging, as defined (i.e., regular updates), requires it, as I'm well aware. (Aware that I'm failing, in other words.)

To continue that train of thought, once you've gained some modicum of popularity, logic dictates that you should build on it, working through any drudgery you may encounter along the way. On the other hand, if that drudgery persists, maybe it's an indication that it's time to move on. Because I truly feel that you can kill a project by taking it past its prime. The television show analogies spring to mind now, unfortunately, but I do like that expression "jumped the shark". That moment is elusive; most days I don't think Firefly had a chance to blossom, but then I think, it was so good that maybe that shark was just around the corner.

Either way, as my comic book project coalesces in my head, I'm well aware that, while it may not seem like fun every day, it should most days. Oddly enough, I think I may be happier if I resist the urge to share the work as it progresses -- with all the pressure to continue that that evokes -- and just share the finished product. On the other hand, that subtle pressure may be just what I need to complete it in a timely fashion.

In the end, I feel lucky that my lifestyle doesn't depend on any of this.