I’ve spent my entire life creating things. When I look back on my most depressed times, I notice they were voids filled with no creating. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t taking photographs. I wasn’t drawing. I wasn’t doing anything to add something to the world, no matter how insignificant those little things might seem. So when I started writing again after a very long five-year break, I was excited, to say the least. I had spent those five years learning photography, but for me nothing seemed to compare to words on a page. So it’s only natural that I would want to celebrate that, right?
Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds, sadly, which I’m sure many of you might have discovered, as well. It seems like many artists spend more time criticizing their work than celebrating it. That’s a necessary step in the creative process, I think, and one nobody should skip. Looking at your work with a critical eye is imperative to growth. However, I do think there is something to be said about pure, raw celebration.
Some might say publication is the ultimate celebration of creativity. Publication. Showcasing. Whatever way there is to share art with the world. In a way, it is a great way to celebrate, but I don’t think it should be the ultimate way to celebrate. My husband is an actor, and when he’s on the stage, that’s his way of showcasing his talent and what he has created with a certain character. At the end of each performance, the audience claps. That’s a sort of celebration, but it’s not what the actors see as their own celebration because they always close the show’s run with a cast party. When my books are released, I throw a launch party. I used to think that was the best way to celebrate my work, but I was wrong. (Not that I’ll stop doing those. They have their place, for sure.)
I think there’s a way to celebrate in order to allow others to celebrate with us, but true celebration seems to happen on a completely private level, at least for me. I’ve noticed it’s not holding my book for the first time, nor is it typing The End, nor is it getting that first email from someone who truly appreciates my work. It’s something deeper, something that never ends.
For me, the first definition of celebration feels so finite, and almost shallow in a way, when I consider what I’m celebrating – something so integral to who I am. The second definition, however, opens up my thoughts and helps me understand that in order to truly celebrate my writing, I have to celebrate not the projects I accomplish, but the fact that I am creating things in the first place. I celebrate the creative process. And how do I do that? By creating more and more. I keep writing. I keep learning and growing.
So, in a lot of ways, celebration is motivation. My husband doesn’t do one play and then call it good. He’s constantly acting in plays. I’m constantly writing stories. It never ends, and I don’t want it to. I think that’s the ultimate celebration of our art – to keep creating. To never give up no matter what the outcome of each project. It’s definitely a motivation for me when I want to quit because I go through a spell thinking everything I create is awful. Instead of wallowing, I will celebrate.
Celebrate. Create. Live.