What no one ever tells you about creative passion


Nude Sketch, © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2011

Nude Sketch, © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2011 (what I gave away in my newsletter this month)

There’s a lot of talk on the internet about finding your passion and turning that into a business. Obviously I think this is great, since I did it.

But sometimes it can be misleading.

Passion experts & self help gurus talk about finding the thing that makes you leap out of bed every morning, excited and ready to take on the world.

Yeahhh. Okay. Sometimes.

But this can be an unrealistic standard to live up to, especially if you’ve struggled to find your passion. It can make you question yourself – “I thought I loved this thing, but some mornings, my bed still seems like the warmest, snuggliest place to be.”

It’s okay. Your thing is still your passion. You’ve just discovered that you’re human.

Now, I don’t know about other people’s passions – maybe if you’re passionate about – I dunno, welding steel beams together or something – then you never experience Resistance.

But guess what, friend – if you do anything even remotely creative, some mornings all you’ll want to do is hide in your bed. Or under it.

I’m working on a portrait commission right now, and this thing has just been the devil itself. I don’t know what’s up with my brain but it just doesn’t want to make this thing pretty. One of the subjects has a very subtly formed face* and if you don’t get the features exactly right, it looks nothing like him.

(*Some people have strong-featured faces that are easily caricatured. These people are easiest to paint – think Jay Leno. Others have more subtle, finely-sculpted features that aren’t as easily translated, and require finesse to capture their personality. If you’re me, it requires re-painting their head 8 times.)

I woke up this morning and the last damn thing I wanted to do was leap out of bed and get to work.

My bed is soft, cozy and warm. Bed seemed so much better.

When you do work that is creative, meaningful & important, sometimes that means it is bloody hard. You encounter Resistance, fear. Your lizard brain will screech and scream and throw up obstacles left and right.

It doesn’t matter how much you love something – it’s never going to undo millenia of evolution.

Work is still work. And sometimes, work sucks because it is hard, it is scary and you don’t know how to do it.

Here’s where passion does make a difference.

You may not want to leap out of bed with excitement every morning. And you may hit that 5:30am snooze button a few too many times some days.

But your passion will help you to overcome your inertia.

Passion helps you to prioritize. What’s more important – staying in bed or working on a meaningful project?

If you truly love your work, 9 times out of 10, you’ll pick the meaningful project.

Passion doesn’t make you perfect though.

Sometimes, you’ll pick your bed. And you know what? That’s okay too. We all need a break from the scary. We all need a chance to recoup, refresh and find a new plan of attack. Sometimes taking a break is the best way to beat Resistance.

If you’re really stuck on something, banging your head against the wall isn’t going to help either. Grab a cup of tea, and stare out the window for 15 minutes. Do some yoga (or some shiva nata if you’re me).

The creative whip should be used sparingly, deadlines only. It’s hardly a sustainable way of creating.

Of course, you want discipline, focus, and commitment. But life isn’t just about those things – this isn’t Sparta. We’re allowed to have fun, take a break, show ourselves some kindness and compassion.

So next time you’re feeling guilty because you hit your snooze button a few too many times, or took a break in the middle of the afternoon because you were about to horribly murder whatever you were working on, take a minute to remind yourself that it’s okay to not be a perfectly oiled machine.

You’re human. You can love something and still get frustrated with it. You can feel passion and still want to take a break sometimes.

Now over to you

Do you ever feel guilty for not leaping out of bed with excitement every morning? Have you struggled to find your passion? Or are you one of those mythical people who’s never experienced a day of Resistance in their life? (If so, please share.)

Leave ‘er in the comments!

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