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The Importance of Delusion in the Creative World

Jesse is a lifelong gamer and student of all things art and culture. Has traveled extensively and mainly focuses on gaming and music.

Being an "Artist"

At what point, when you've been creating art, do you actually become an artist? There are a lot of people out there that struggle with self doubt so severe that there's actually a name for it. They call it Imposter Syndrome. I've felt it personally every time I try to start a new creative endeavor. It's only natural to feel like you're on the outside looking in at the beginning. Repetition, and constant work is the key to overcoming these feelings.

Basically, you learn by doing, and grow your talent. Don't stop paying attention to what others do because that is still a very important part of your own personal development. At first you're not highly skilled and that can be discouraging when you compare yourself to others. You and your creations are still valid though. I believe that nearly all human expression holds value on some level.

Let's get personal for a second. I make music. It's cheesy techno music. I just jumped into this field a little over a year ago as of this writing. My self doubts are strong sometimes to the point that I start to feel depressed and hopeless. I believe this is natural as you learn more about your craft. Consider the following analogy. When you learn to ride a bike you can't even keep yourself upright without training wheels. Eventually you master the machine and can ride around. You had to learn a delicate skill to keep from falling over.

Now, when it comes to creative endeavors you can look at what others do and think, "I can't do that." The truth is that you can't do that yet, not that you can't do it at all. It's the artistic equivalent of looking at a few BMX videos immediately after learning to ride your bike. You'll see all kinds of amazing footage of extreme downhill riders, street competitions, and stunts. Does not being able to do those things mean you're not a bike rider? It absolutely does not! I believe the same goes for creative works.

I'm no Skrillex, but I know the theory, and I think I have a knack for creating beats and catchy loops. The whole reason I'm writing this is because I suffer from schizoaffective disorder. I'm prone to delusional thoughts at times. However, I believe that a little bit of delusion is important. At the end of the day nothing really matters with life, but you have to believe in what drives you. You have to believe in the value of your creations. So, a little bit of delusion isn't a bad thing. It should be tempered humility though. You should be proud of your perceived masterpieces. Even if it's not a Grammy winning track I'll still program it. I'm not a mastering engineer but I can still mix for what sounds good to me over my monitors and headphones.

I'll probably never be famous but I'll make the kind of music I like to listen to and maybe one day I'll go somewhere, or maybe I won't. I've been trying in vain to market my amateur audio creations for the past year. They're really not worth the dollar I'm charging per track. So, tempering my delusion with some humility I've decided to pay for professional mastering from now on. I'm still going to try to master as best I can, but I don't have the skillset I need yet to produce something professional completely by myself. I'm going to be quieter about my work, and let it sit in the ether of the internet for people I know to listen too. I'm not going to lose my mind and delete everything again. Yeah I probably should feel a little embarrassed about my early attempts to create music, but I am getting better.

Consider this article a reflection on my delusion. I was delusional, but it helped me press forward and create a better sounding track each time I did it. It helped me press forward and learn more about something I'm highly interested in. It played a role in my growth as a person. Just remember to stay humble at the end of the day, and maybe one day you'll be able to point to something and say, "I did that." and be proud of what you've accomplished. If you feel like you caught yourself being delusional recognize it and learn from it. Do not let it kill your drive to continue doing what you love. Don't quit. See the potential in your creation through the delusion, but accept the reality that it is not and will not be perfect. Even the perfection of the most superlative artists isn't without its flaws. That's what makes it human.