Being Creative Is Difficult

For my journalism class, I created a presentation on why you should write what you love. Viktoria’s The Virgin Suicides review inspired me; she loved the book—you could feel it in her words. I thought, why doesn’t everyone write about what they love?

When I finally sat down to create the presentation, I wanted things to be perfect and passionate. I spent forty-five minutes adding and removing slides, then switching focus between the script and slideshow. I started to think, how can I tell people to write about what they love as I struggle to make this presentation? Jesus says, “‘first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’”

Then it hit me: being creative is hard. It’s not something that just happens or something you can suggest people do. Digging deep and being honest with your audience is scary.

The previously mentioned (now-deleted) presentation would have included this poem by Wendell Berry:


Sometimes hidden from me

In daily custom and in ritual,

I live by you unaware,

As if by the beating of my heart.


Suddenly you flare again in my sight,

A wild rose at the edge of the thicket,

Where yesterday there was only shade,


And I am blessed and choose again,

That which I chose before.


I would have included this poem because I relate to it as a Christian. But I became frightened and began questioning what people would think of me for including something related to my religious beliefs.

Being creative is not only scary but problematic; it means someone has to experience your creativity. The good kind of creativity, the impactful kind of creativity, the lasts-in-your-memory-and-lingers-after-you’re-asleep kind of creativity is only attainable when the artist is frank with their audience. It requires a self-realized person displayed bare on the page for everyone to sneer and mock. It’s no wonder I rewrite all of my articles to the bone: I’m afraid readers won’t be pleased.

How do writers do it? How can they capture such truth in their words to make me laugh out loud, or make me feel as if my problems are their own? I know how, but it isn’t easy. Achieving that level of writing requires dedication, effort, and lots of editing.

So, I gave up on the presentation and resorted to writing about how I felt.