Last night, I finished up Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead". There probably couldn't have been a better time for that book to find its way to me. I have a feeling Travis knew this when he recommended it and provided me with a copy.
My job is a good one and allows for me to exercise the creative part of my brain in bursts I doubt most people are afforded. However, it's still a corporate job nested inside a partnership with another organization.
One of my main responsibilities is to create new elements for the site. However, with our current structure, I only get to complete the initial steps of the creative process. I conceive of an idea, create the first drafts, and flesh it out to a working prototype. To make an analogy in the art world, this is where an artist has finished all their initial sketches; they have the complete vision in their head, and are ready to begin working in their medium.
Instead of moving to the final phase and brining the vision to light, this is the point where I hand it off to others. An entirely different company, literally.
My work is pulled apart, forced into their existing structure and slapped back together again. The craftsmanship I put in gets deformed. Elegance turns into Average. Refinements to create quality reduced to Just Good Enough.
This is the corporate process. This is the way it works. This is the way that it's always been, and I accept that. As long as I kept taking things as far as I could before throwing them into the corporate machine, I kept a good balance.
I've said for as long as I can remember that one of the main things I want to do in life is to build elegant works. Or, as I usually say it out loud, to make cool shit. In my current corporate world, this manifests itself in taking something as far as I can before handing it off. But over time, I stopped pay attention to the corporate process and it has been wearing me down more than I was aware. It wasn't a conscious thought, but in the back of my brain I knew the vision in my minds eye would not make it to the light of day.
I started to short circuit myself.
No one other than me would be able to tell since the reduced corporate output was effectively no different, but once I stopped a process short the tension of creativity couldn't find a release. The result, not surprisingly, was that the creative core of my mind started to atrophy. Since that part of my mind is my driving force, the outcome being that I really haven't been myself for a while.
The good news: all it's taken for me to get my head screwed back on right is an excellent story that reminded me that I need to create as much as I can and keep those mystical creative juices flowing.