February 17, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert on "Genius, And How We Ruin It"

My favourite is 10:00 mins onwards :)


Mike said...

Very interesting. I watched it start to finish. She's a great speaker. The best point she makes is how people involved in complex creative projects tend to falter when they start to question the quality and validity of what they're creating. I go through that every time I do a textbook, a paper or anything. And she's correct in staying that when that happens, you just gotta keep going, because that's your job!

I do, however, think she overanalyzes the whole creative process -- she tries to get to the heart of why creative people often tend to be so fucked up in their day to day lives. Alcoholism, depression, suicide. She compares this to her chemical engineer father. To me, it's a pretty obvious explanation. Engineers, janitors, teachers, financial advisors, and bus drivers all HAVE to get up in the morning, and report to a job. And a job means interaction with others. It means getting a break from your own internal dialogue. It means you are forced into society whether you like it or not. Most people doing "creative" stuff don't keep regular schedules. And for people working on large, solitary projects like writers, painters and son on, they often don't even have "regular jobs." When you have no external pressure on your life to wake up, shave and not drink all day, it takes a lot of personal strength to maintain a regular lifestyle. And all day all you have to listen to are your own thoughts. Combine that with feelings that you're not getting as much done as you should -- and suddenly you're "too busy" to get out with friends. Instead you find yourself sitting at your computer working all the time. And if you're a drinker, watch out! lol

I think there's also the fact that most of the writers and artists I know just don't like the 9 to 5 thing. And they don't just want to make money -- they want to do something THEY want to do -- and be recognized for it. And that thirst for recognition can be damaging when it never happens.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this clip. Thanks for sending the link :) And have a great day :)

AJ said...

I totally agree with you. Having too much free time on your hand, without being able to force yourself to get on a productive path can sometimes be destructive.

Mike said...

And there's that other demon that creative people working have to deal with -- self doubt. I was thinking about this yesterday. I'm actually working on a rather large project for a company based in the US -- an educational design for their site. After a week with no external feedback, I start to think -- Is this OK? Am I on the right path? etc. But one great phone call to brainstorm and check out the path I'm on with the head guy and I'm once again supercharged. People in "regular" jobs rarely go a day without some kind of feedback and evaluation -- be it good or bad. Being the judge of your own creativity can get pretty heavy -- so for novelists and more artistic types -- I can see how it could even be downright depressing! lol