Man, Shield readers, it’s been a while. I haven’t written anything for the Shield since December 1st.
To put this in perspective, this was back when the Washington Huskies were saying “We Want ‘Bama,” Barack Obama was still President of the United States, and dabbing was socially acceptable. As you will see later on, it’s not like I hadn’t stopped writing. I’ve tried logging on to write multiple times, but there have been things that have stopped me from creating something really great that I’d want to publish. Let me explain two things about me that contribute to this problem.
For a while now, I’ve seen the world as divided into two groups of people: people who create and people who consume. In my opinion, there are the people who want to add something to the world and the people that want to reap its benefits. I guess you could also categorize these people into people who are creative minds and “artsy” versus people who aren’t. You can see it in everyday life. Think of somebody who goes home and listens to 21 Savage on their phone with their white Apple earbuds, compared to someone who goes home every day to mess around on Ableton Live making beats, trying to be the next Metro Boomin.
Thinking back on my life, I’ve always pretty much been in the first category. I’ve always been making or creating something. Especially as I get older, my dream is to add something worthwhile to the world. I’ve always been writing something, or playing music, or building something with my hands. My vision as to what I want to add to the world has changed multiple times. One day it’s film, one day its writing, the next music. In any case, I’ve always been the kid playing around with loops and kick drums and and hi-hats on the laptop in my bedroom, working to make something unique and great, trying to catch lightning in a bottle.
I’ve never been one to forget where I am in life and stop wanting to create. The thing is, senior year has kind of changed me into being the kind of complacent person that I never want to be. I’ve found it very hard to create lately. Everyone wants to hang out, and I want to maximize all of my experiences in my high school career. I haven’t been able to balance spending time with friends before we all go off to college, schoolwork, and creating new things. It’s tough to try to carve out time from your schedule to do something that takes so much time and effort.
I hold myself to a very high standard when it comes to creative work. I know it isn’t fair, but in whatever I do, I compare myself to the greats to see where I stand. When I started making beats, I started to idolize Pete Rock and DJ Premier. Even with only a few months under my belt, I compared my beats to Pete and Preemo beats. I would ruthlessly critique my work, holding them to the gold standard. Forget the fact that I only had four months of experience, I wanted to make legendary quality beats, right away.
The same is true for every creative thing I do. Music, making things with my hands, and in this case, writing.
College applications are probably the most work I have ever done in my life. All of the mind-numbing small things do take an effect, but in my opinion that is nothing compared to the “optional” writing supplements. Almost every single school I applied to had a writing supplement. I put the pressure on myself to create a unique and great essay every single time. I had to take a new and creative stance that nobody else had come up with before. Originally, I felt this pressure weighing on me to make something great. However, as the due dates started piling up, my high standard of writing went out the window. As we say at McQuaid, I started scheming, just trying to get things done. As the saying goes, “sometimes you work hard, sometimes you scheme hard.” And boy, did I start scheming hard.
Over the past few months with all of my college essays, I’ve gotten in a habit of associating creative work with scheming instead of something I really love to do. It is so easy to get paralyzed by the work, but the thing is, we often exaggerate these things. An essay had become something that I had to do, instead of something I really like doing. Part of that was the subject matter, or the fact that I had to do it, or my complacency, but being creative was a burden. I simply lost my love for making things.
It’s pretty crazy how much I need this column. Being creative is my release, my catharsis. In this case, to explore things going on around me in a new way and hopefully entertain and write some good stuff. By not writing, I was pretty much neglecting a crucial part of my life. As you might expect, the past few months haven’t been too great for me.
With all this being said, I want to announce I’m officially back baby. I’m ready to finish what I started in the beginning of the year and keep producing great things. Let’s do this.