I think it’s safe to say that all of us struggle in some way or another, whether it be financially, emotionally, creatively, or in some other way. Struggling is part of life.
It’s how we react to the struggle, how we meet it, and how we learn to use it or overcome it that can define how it affects us.
For me, the creative struggle has always been one I have been able to overcome but it’s still there. In recent years writing has gotten harder in that I have a hard time focusing and wanting to push through the slog of it. The thing is though that I use that struggle as fuel to keep pushing. I force myself to keep at it, even for just a little bit, even when I don’t want to at all, just so I can keep the fight alive. With creativity, a lot of it dies when we stop fighting for it and begin fighting with it. Once we let distraction and doubt and derailment decide what we’re going to do then we’ve lost.
All of it is part of the process, and all of us have our own process, but if we learn to use that struggle, to consider it part of the challenge, and to push through it we will find that groove again and keep rolling.
And encouragement doesn’t change the struggle.
Me telling you, in a way, to suck it up, doesn’t change it.
The mystery book I wrote was a full on struggle.
It was a slog.
I had to write it in a month, something in a genre I have no really deep knowledge or love of, but which I wanted to try my hand at.
Every day was hard, just as this is hard right now, writing the blog, but what I find is that if I push through it, the result is better than I imagined because the machinery may be gummed up but they still work.
Often better than we think.
That’s where practice and all that come in.
You train yourself to do it and to get it done.
It may feel frustrating to learn this chord, and that chord, and this style and that style but it’s all building the foundation on which your art is made.
It makes it easier for you to create without thinking because it’s a reflex.
The struggle is everywhere.
I know it was hard to do my movie, to stay driven and to keep at it when people dropped out of the cast, when a friend backed out of helping with it, and when we had to reshoot it after we got halfway done. The thing was though that I had to finish it. Too many people had put time into it, had put effort into it, to just quit.
It stopped being about me, and was about all of us, and our passion and struggle, and that deserved to be rewarded.
Even if the movie was no good, at least it would showcase their hard work.
I was involved in another film that the director seems content to let other people do the heavy lifting on and, when it was clear that he wasn’t going to get rich off of it immediately, he tapped out.
He was driven by money, not passion.
And the result was an unfinished film and a lot of disappointed, and possibly bitter people.
You can say this about all art and all things.
The struggle and how we face it defines us.
We won’t win all the time.
We won’t succeed.
We won’t get that break.
But how to bounce back, or come back is what matters.
Success isn’t just being in the right place at the right time, it’s consistently being in that place, ready for the break when it comes.
It’s preparing for the break so that if it comes, when it comes, you are ready for it.
And believe me, the breaks don’t come often.
But that’s why you need to find your own drive, your own fire, and your own WHY to drive you forward. You have to love what you are doing enough to understand that while you may not get famous, may not get rich, and may struggle for every ounce of whatever you consider success, you are still doing what you love.
THAT IS WHAT MATTERS.
Maybe you make less time for these things if you need to focus more on money, but it doesn’t mean you stop doing it.
It means you take a break, take a breath, and you give yourself a break.
You don’t let the struggle beat you, you just find new ways to beat the struggle.
And it wins when we quit.
When we quit fighting and lay down and die.
Sure, we won’t win every fight, and we won’t live every dream, and we won’t get all the things we want but those things don’t define a life well lived, the struggle does and how we overcome it.
You may never make it to Hawaii and that’s OK.
You may never play Madison Square Garden, but that’s OK.
You may never have a best seller, but that’s OK.
YOU define your success, AND your failure, and you define what a good life looks like for yourself.
No one else has the right to do that.
The bigger struggles?
You do the same thing.
You take them as they come, you take the time to process them, to look at them, to mourn if you need to more something about them, and then you roll your sleeves and get to work.
You have overcome struggles before.
You’ll overcome them again.
With the help of yourself, your friends, your loved ones, your pets, or just the inspiration you take from an amazing movie or song.
You can do it.
You will do it.
And when you’re past it you can nod to yourself and smile because you did it.
And you’ll do it again, as many times as you need to, because you deserve more than to let the struggle win.
Life doesn’t really ever get ‘easy’ but it gets easier when we realize that the struggle does not define us, it merely reminds us how strong we are and every struggle we overcome gives us the drive and push to overcome the next one, and the next, and the next after that.
We all have limitations, we all have issues, and we all fall, but it’s in rising that we define who we are, who we can be, and who we will be, and that is something the struggle can never beat.
Spooky Chris needs a new house, go buy a book, kid!