Writing blogs is a lot like writing songs.
My professional, working musician life ended 17 years ago.
The years leading up to that ending were a very creative period of time for me.
Sometimes original songs would flow like a raging river swelling its banks—no rhyme or reason for the how or why or fury of its path.
There is no learned pattern when it comes to creativity.
If you are smart you go with, and act on, whatever is inspiring you at any given time.
To ignore any of the inspiring moments you are caught up with is to strike a death blow to your creativity.
To know that writing in general, like songwriting, speaks to the timing that is creativity that arrives in a moment, is to understand the process.
When I was younger I never knew any of this.
I failed to realize that creativity streaks are moments to be seized upon and not ignored.
I was once interviewing in a multiple candidate environment.
That is, I once applied for a job where the employer was somewhat progressive-thinking, the position called for working collaboratively in a team environment and the question and answer interview was interestingly enough in a group setting of candidates all vying for the same position.
It was a fascinating concept to me and far ahead of its time.
Humans will act differently in a one-on-one interview situation vis-à-vis a group scenario.
I immediately knew I would not get the job.
I was, and am, far too empathic to be selfish enough to want something more than someone else who needs it a lot more than I do.
But in order to be creative you have to be selfish.
Although the job was a creative position, there was no need to be selfish in this case, however, and I intentionally brought my “B” game to the interviewer after fully realizing my opponents had to have the job a lot more than I did.
When the embers of artistry were singeing my core back in the day, though I acted on them on many an occasion and drafted the prose in my head onto paper, I far too often ignored their call.
I had written a lot of songs or at least a lot more than many of my contemporary musician friends at the time.
What I failed to achieve in terms of being truly prolific, was mostly due to not having the personal quality of “want to.”
“Want to” is what separates the average from the greatest performers across all artistic fields.
“Want to” in its most base form is incomparable self-motivation.
“Want to” is most closely associated with absolutely needing the outcome of something to fall your way.
Those that need something the most to happen, have the most “want to” to make that thing actually occur.
With age comes a certain amount of peace and understanding in our minds.
The wiser among us do not long for the ability to change decisions we have made in the past, in the name of living a perfect life from beginning to end.
As humans, we are not capable of perfection.
Wanting to change the decisions we have made in the past serves no purpose and demonstrates our purest imperfections.
It also lends itself to regrets—which are something I try to live without.
“There are no mistakes. There’s what you do, and what you don’t do.”
Diane Lane’s line could easily have been, “I will regret this,” and Martinez could have substituted “regrets” for “mistakes” in his follow-up line.
Personally, I choose to not have any regrets—I’ve done what I’ve done and haven’t done what I haven’t done.
Every day is a reckoning for each of us.
If you arm yourself with knowledge, act upon your creative instincts and save ignoring them for after you are gone, your humanity, purpose and legacy will be clear to all those you will touch.