The Peter Jackson-directed documentary on the Beatles’ Get Back does viewers a great service. It shows that genius is not something that springs forth fully formed. Oftentimes it looks like four, sometimes five, guys sitting around drinking tea, smoking cigarettes, telling jokes and playing old songs. As Ian Leslie writes:
A good song or album – or novel or painting – seems authoritative and inevitable, as if it just had to be that way, but it rarely feels like that to the people making it. Art involves a kind of conjuring trick in which the artist conceals her false starts, her procrastination, her self-doubts, her confusion, behind the finished article.
No wonder so many people feel like they can’t create something new. They compare their efforts to already finished products. However the benefit in creating something has to little to do with the end result. Once we leave school the vast majority of us quit creating ‘art.’ However you want to define it. In a recent post Lawrence Yeo writes about how much creative potential is being left on the table. At More to That he writes:
Here’s a reality that’s both depressing and empowering: Most people spend far less than an hour a day creating something. The depressing angle to this is quite obvious. The fact that so much potential is left untapped within vast stretches of humanity is a shame. One can only wonder what the world would look like if everyone took an hour each day to work on something that excites them.
The empowering angle, however, takes the flip side of the equation: If you spend just one hour creating something, you’re ahead of most people out there. In a world where the current of consumption is all-consuming, even a bit of creative friction goes a long way.
Art isn’t some diversion or luxury that other people can enjoy. Arthur C. Brooks writing at The Atlantic notes how art can, and should, be an integral part of our lives. He writes:
Treat art less like a diversionary pleasure and more like exercise or sleep or loving relationships: a necessity for a life full of deep satisfaction. I’m not saying you need to quit your job and become a poet. But you should make a daily effort to get off the wheel of Ixion.
Some doctors have been prescribing time outside in nature. It’s hard to see much in the way of downside. The same could be said for producing some sort of art, broadly defined, on a regular basis as well. You’re unlikely to write the next ‘Hey Jude‘ but you may make open some neural pathways that weren’t there before