Truth II: Being Imaginative is not the same as being Creative

Do you find yourself saying “So I had a cool idea for ______”, “If I’d made this game I would have tweaked ________”, “I’m going to start writing a _______ about _______.”? How many books do you have? How many games?  How many of your ideas have you breathed life into?

Being imaginative takes no commitment, no blood, sweat, tears, no awkward conversations with friends, no questioning your sanity at 4am, no virulent voice berating you: your idea’s inane, unoriginal, played out, you don’t even believe in this shit, your friends don’t believe in it, your friends don’t believe in it because you don’t believe in it, you’re just pretending to believe in it so they believe in it, maybe you’re all pretending…. maybe Cards Against Humanity did it better. You know, the same shit that keeps us all up at night.

Being imaginative is the flirtation, the infatuation, the one-night stand. It drips with the pleasure of possibility precisely because you secretly know there is no possibility. You don’t really plan on jolting to life your Frankenstein, because if you did you may lose control of it, you may fail it, it may fail you.  Imagination allows us a sad facsimile of all the emotional bounties of creation (esteem, importance, glory) while sparing us all of its failings (fear, obsession, compromise, wasted time, severed commitments).  

The problem is this: imagination offers none of creativity’s long-term and more durable rewards.

No one’s impressed that you thought of a cool new twist on Twilight Empirium. Quit patting yourself on the ass for merely thinking about the things that real people are really doing right now. Get up and make something

At least this is what I had to tell myself.


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