Artist Austin Kleon put this on his list of essentials for creators: if you want to dedicate your energy to creating exceptional things, then you will on a day-to-day basis be a boring person.
This weekend I played with The White Oaks at what was probably the biggest show we've played so far—I think we nailed it.
Afterward there was a second set of shows down the street as part of the same series. The $15 admission to see a great national touring act was free for me—but instead I headed home and got sleep so the next day I could get up early to drive to a gig in Illinois. Awesome show = fun. Getting plenty of sleep = boring.
It's becoming more clear to me that at certain points in my life I'm not trying to create interesting things so much as I'm trying to appear interesting to others. Sometimes it produces the same external results: a cool song, an interesting thought; but during seasons when I try to "appear interesting" with the way I live my life—creativity suffers.
Great creators of history are fairly scheduled and boring. I can't tell you how many writers denote their success to little more than the fact that they got good sleep, sat at the typewriter at the same time each morning, and stayed there. Boring.
- Working on guitar scales or having friends over?
- Writing an essay or watching a movie?
- Going to Australia or spending a week at a cabin with pen/paper/guitar?
It's not always a dichotomy, but every "yes" to one thing is a "no" to another. So I'm trying to be more honest with myself. Do I want to appear interesting or do I want to be boring and actually create worthwhile things?