Conquering Creative Inertia
"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” - Dale Carnegie
One of the best parts of giving a piano performance is interacting with the audience afterwards. It’s a moment of genuine connection with others, a chance to hear how they have connected the experience of your music to their lives. Sure, you hear a lot of odd things… I never quite know how to respond when someone tells me about the neighbor’s son who plays the saxophone. (In my head I always respond, “What do you want me to do about that?”) Ultimately, though, you come to appreciate people communicating a connection in the way they know how.
In those glowing moments after a show, you hear some sad things, too. People will relate how a deceased loved one used to play the piano, or would have loved the show if they could only be here. One of saddest things you hear is, “I wish I’d never stopped playing the piano.” The defeat in the voice always gets me, because I know firsthand how much joy and release playing the piano can bring to a person. I know what they’ve missed out on, and it’s substantial. It’s worth mourning that loss. I take a minute to be sad with them, and then I cheer them on: “It’s never too late to start again!” Easier said than done, of course. Here's some collected thoughts on getting over your fear of starting again, no matter what form your creativity may take.
Martin Spitznagel is a musican, writer, and filmmaker living in Pittsburgh, PA.