makers gotta make / by jamie atlas


The hardest thing about leading a creative life is pushing yourself to keep creating day after day. The insecurities and doubts that niggle at your mind - what's the point? where do I start? - can stop a good idea before it ever gets going. And simple logistics can get in your way. Especially now, as the mother of two tiresome toddlers, it's hard for me to carve out time to sit at my desk, much less find the brainspace to seek inspiration and be creative. I could write 100 blog posts about motherhood and working, specifically about fueling your own creative needs when literally 100% of your body and brain are devoted to other little beings. I swear, half of my brainpower was literally sucked out with my breastmilk the last couple of years - is that possible?! But wherever the inhibition stems from, creatives all have the excuses that stop us.

On a trip to a museum with my dad when I was a kid, I remember being baffled by some of the modern art (if I remember correctly, it was specifically Black Square, by Kasimir Malevich, that really annoyed me, in that ignorant-yet-cocky way that only kids can get annoyed) and muttering under my breath something like, "seriously?! even I could make that." My dad heard me, of course (parents always hear those mutterings, don't they?) and said, "yes, but you didn't." I think about that conversation a lot. It's so simple, really, but creative things have to be created! I do NOT fancy myself an artist by any means, but I'm a maker, by hobby and trade, and I've found myself in need of this reminder lately: MAKERS GOTTA MAKE. I could make a lot of things...but when do I show up and actually get making?

I'm pushing myself lately to create something every day - the project can be large or small, photography or not, for work or personal. A simple step I've made is to put myself in the habit of leaving my cameras out and about, rather than packing them away in camera bags in the closet. I have one out on a dresser or counter top in a few different rooms of my apartment (it seems stupidly simple, I know, but with curious toddler fingers constantly on the prowl, it's actually super baddass). It's one little thing that has removed a step between me feeling inspired and picking up my tool.

I just bought the book Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, and just a few pages in, I'm really into it. How do you push yourself to keep creating?