Have an Affair
Why do people persist in creating, even when it’s difficult and inconvenient and often financially unrewarding?
They persist because they are in love.
They persist because they are hot for their vocation.
Let me explain what I mean by hot.
You know how people who are having extramarital affairs always seem to manage to find time to see each other in order to have wild, transgressive sex? It doesn’t seem to matter if those people have full-time jobs and families at home to support; they still somehow always manage to find the time to sneak off and see their lover—no matter what the difficulties, the risks, or the costs. Even if they get only fifteen minutes together in a stairwell, they will take that time and they will make out with each other like crazy. (If anything, the fact that they have only fifteen minutes together somehow makes it all even hotter.)
When people are having an affair, they don’t mind losing sleep, or missing meals. They will make whatever sacrifices they have to make, and they will blast through any obstacles, in order to be alone with the object of their devotion and obsession—because it matters to them.
Let yourself fall in love with your creativity like that and see what happens.
Stop treating your creativity like it’s a tired, old, unhappy marriage (a grind, a drag) and start regarding it with the fresh eyes of a passionate lover. Even if you have only fifteen minutes a day in a stairwell alone with your creativity, take it. Go hide in that stairwell and make out with your art! (You can get a lot of making out done in fifteen minutes, as any furtive teenager can tell you.) Sneak off and have an affair with your most creative self. Lie to everyone about where you’re actually going on your lunch break. Pretend you’re traveling on a business trip when secretly you’re retreating in order to paint, or to write poetry, or to draw up the plans for your future organic mushroom farm. Conceal it from your family and friends, whatever it is you’re up to. Slip away from everyone else at the party and go off to dance alone with your ideas in the dark. Wake yourself up in the middle of the night in order to be alone with your inspiration, while nobody is watching. You don’t need that sleep right now; you can give it up.
What else are you willing to give up in order to be alone with your beloved?
Don’t think of it all as burdensome; think of it all as sexy.