don’t try

Do you ever get half way through shaving in the shower and have a brilliant idea?  You articulate it so well in your mind then when it comes time to develop that idea you stare mindlessly at a blank computer screen.  This has happened to me a lot.  Some have suggested that I should write on a schedule, maybe every day for an hour or three times a week.  But what happens when my creativity doesn’t line up with my writing schedule?  I’ve been told, “write every day, post it to the blog and you’ll get more readers.”  I’m just not creative every day.  Some days I am just a methodical machine that gets business done while other days I have so many ideas I can’t spew them out fast enough.

My point is exactly this.  “Don’t Try.”

This is advice that poet Charles Bukowski left the world on his tombstone.  This is not advice to have zero ambition, it is not advice on risk taking, but it is advice on creativity.  His point was that you couldn’t force the creative process.  This is precisely the reason why after I’ve studied for a sermon there will be times I go for a run or play some basketball.  Creativity is like a force in my mind that isn’t always on.  Being in creative environments draws it out with creative people.

When you try, you end up getting a great comedian hosting the Oscars telling lame scripted jokes.  When you try, it’s obvious.  When you try no one laughs.  Have you ever said something really profound or funny and you probably followed it up with the phrase, “I wasn’t even trying.”


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