I rack my brain, scouring for the crumbs of inspiration that might remain from my last creative outburst, but there is nothing. No muse, no genius, no sudden epiphanies. And so I stare at the blank canvas that is the hardwood floor. It awaits my new ideas, and I have a sinking feeling I will let it down.
There is a unique type of pain being a creative and a perfectionist. A constant tension of wanting to express the full picture of who I am while having an urge to stay within the lines. Much of these tendencies come from growing up in a strict household where my goal was to be the best -- go to the top school, do the best work, etc. I had come to realize that there was no 'best' art.
So here I am, 13 years after beginning my artistic journey, still battling to put my foot forward and create. I wait for a spark -- for something to numb the analytical part of my brain and initiate my creative side. I can let the perfectionist in me win and call it quits for now. "You can't practice if you're not inspired," it tells me. "Why produce anything at all, if you won't be proud of it?"
But today, I won't be convinced so easily. I turn the music back on, lay down on the floor, close my eyes and start to move. This is where I tell you how changing my perspective opened up a new way of looking at the world, and my best ideas flowed right out. Except it didn't. I despise every moment of it. It is strange and uncomfortable. Cringing at the thought of how ridiculous I probably look, I get up, brush the dust off my pants, switch the music and attempt a new awkward challenge. So I continue round after round to create my worst solos -- things I'd never let see the light of day.
I never found the breakthrough I was looking for that day, but I found something better --freedom. I discovered the joy of creating for creation's sake--the power to set aside my inner critic and make something.
So I encourage you not to create your best work. It will paralyze you. Instead, spend some time each day making something you despise--something you'd be embarrassed to share. There is always room to discard, edit, and start over again. And on the way to the trash, you might take a look at what you've done and realize there just might be something useful in there.