Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Creative Drudgery: The truth can now be told!

You know those pesky tasks that sink to the bottom of your pile only to rise again as the project moves forward? Everything worth doing in life has them.

When most folks think about the Creative Life, they imagine endless visits to a cafe smoking foreign cigarettes (for writers); days spent in sun-filled studios (for visual artists); a life in the spotlight wearing those sexy evening gowns (for performing musicians, the applause and glory on stage (for actors)...and so forth.

The truth is this. Almost every project includes periods of both creativity and sheer drudgery. This means the gamut: from building a house to cooking a company meal to making a quilt to developing a career to running a political campaign to raising a family to forming a lasting love relationship...well, everything, really if you get my drift.

The drudgery is usually more invisible. People from outside that work, haven't a clue of the endless hours this drudgery entails. Now, if you love what you're doing or have sufficient faith in the ultimate product or outcome, it seems less like dudgery and more like a labor of love. If you have the funds, some of this drudgery can be outsourced who do that particular task for a living and do it far better than you do. Or, perhaps you have a friend or family member who's good at filing your taxes, say...helping you budget...or promote your work...and on and on and on.

Inevitably, though, there will be certain tasks that you just have to suck in your gut and "Do it!"

One of the worst case scenarios for those of us who can barely brush our teeth on schedule, is to go into a period in which all the drudge work, all the tail ends from a variety of projects come crashing down on us.

That's what happened to me over the last long stretch from Thursday through I: registered copyrights; worked with a spreadsheet to list my new audio book "Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music" on-line at CD Baby so it can be sent out via digital streaming channels; finalized a family and friends poetry anthology...and so forth.

All I can tell you is this: "Take heart." It will all come right in the end, when you are basking in your bubble bath in candlelight...savoring the sweet success of a project completed.

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4 Responses »

  1. Hallelujah, you got it done!!! I'm excited for you thta you've got your Sightlines on audio. Did you read it?

    Enjoy the bubble bath in candlelight!!!


  2. Susan,

    Oh, yes...finished the product last November. It's gorgeous...4 disc set with musical interludes recorded in Pop's kitchen. Now we're working on the promo to properly launch it. Sells for $22.


  3. Janet,

    As always, you've brought insight and wisdom to the tedious side of creativity--and life in general. You're right that the minutia of being creative gets short shrift, but if we approach those details with an open mind and heart, they can bring insights as important as the actual rush of painting, singing, acting, sculpting, writing. Doing that "drudge work" can be a great time for our minds to relax and for new ideas to form. Handling the sometimes tedious minutia can also be a great opportunity to pass along a smile, or the excitement of actually holding that four-CD set in your hands. Life's about all the moments we live, not just the ones we think are most important....


  4. Life’s about all the moments we live, not just the ones we think are most important….

    This really struck a chord with me this morning

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