In my day to day life, I’ve often experienced people rebuffing any sort of creative thought, especially if it’s an idea that goes against the grain. Why buck the system when you can just maintain a status quo, after all? Why? Because it could lead to something better than you ever imagined, something you could never imagine had you never tried. Or, as Kevin Smith so succinctly puts it: Why not?
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith. I love his films, I’ve read his books, and I listen to a number of his podcasts. At this point, he seems to be more part life coach and professional encourager than anything else. The quote used within the cartoon strip is only one example of this, the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
It can get old when people don’t understand the WHY behind your need to do something, or pursue, something creative, but, to play devils advocate for a moment, it’s equally tiring to hear someone (who has made it) espouse life advice as though it were all so easy. Spoilers: It’s Not. Because life is not easy.
One of Smiths’ major pitfalls in recent years is forgetting that a lot of these things are possible for him because he is Kevin Smith. He has a career spanning 20 years, with fingers in numerous pop culturally relevant/geeky pies, and a fan base to prove it. It’s easy to say “go out and write/make a movie/form a band” etc, etc, but to do it, yet alone generate a career out of it? That’s something else entirely, as I’m sure many creative people, stuck with jobs to put food on the table, can attest to.
What can’t be argued with, however, is the message Smith is sharing, and it’s one perfectly captured within the above strip: Encourage the artists in your life, and hope to be encouraged in return. It is too easy to knock someone down, to allow negativity to drown out the spark that allows people to play and discover and invent. The beauty of its poignancy is its simplicity, and I don’t believe you can really argue with that. It ties in with a mantra that I’ve been using recently with a few of my friends who have had their creative dreams knocked recently, the cracks of doubt creeping in as people grow older and the need for financial stability begins to overtake the need for creative experimentation and freedom: Commit to Create.
It can be hard to find the time, or the motivation, but if you truly want to make something in this world, you will. You will make the time, you will force yourself into action, rather than coasting on inaction, and you will commit, crawling along if need be, dragging yourself by your fingertips, inch by inch, to the finishing line. But at the end it will all be worth it, because you will be able to behold your finished piece; be it art, movie, book, comic, whatever, and know that YOU made that. YOU took an idea, a concept, and gave it life. YOU made something, where once there was nothing.
So encourage the artists and creative people in your life, in the same way that you seek the validation and encouragement of your own work; it’s the only way that people will be able to take enough pride in their work; hell, it’s the only way that people will be brave enough to start in the first place, and, importantly, commit to create.