Illustration by Nikki Oka

Someone once told me that creativity extends far beyond conventional forms of art. Our ability to create can include determining the course of our day, our life, our destiny. It can mean speaking; producing sounds that together have power and meaning. It can mean loving or hating.

Exciting, isn’t it? That you have the power to create something that wasn’t there before, the power to make something you dreamed up in your head a reality. A painting! A cake! A story! Your physical location in one hour—it could be (almost!) anywhere! An almost infinite ability to produce, constrained only by a few measly factors, one of which is, forever, time.

And, what is it about time that both frightens and comforts the creator? Is it the scarcity? The abundance?

For me, my creativity manifests in curry-making. It’s in the stories my husband and I tell each other about imagined assassins lurking in sushi restaurant bathrooms. It’s in the constant adjusting I make in my trajectory of who I am and who I want to be. It’s in writing.

FLUX Time A Hui Hou Making Due

There is, quite often, a deep ownership between a person and their creations, which opens up a cellar door to fear: fear of imperfection, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough. Cue procrastination, that beast not to be mistaken for distraction, laziness, or forgetfulness. These are all procrastination’s brothers, human conditions alike but different from him. Procrastination is that irrational, haunting specter; it is having hours and space to do a thing, to write a piece—and still, yet, just not.

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Is it a fear of time that results in that irrational freeze, like a deer in headlights? Are you unable to start the imaginary timer that begins the project because in your frightened head, you can’t fail at the project until you start? Of course, that’s not true. Tick, tick, tick.

To create, to birth, is a painful process. Part of that is accepting that not everything you create will be beautiful, that you are made up of much more messiness than you are of perfection. That you can beget incompetency, the unacceptable, the banal. That not all creation looks like art.

The greatest gift with writing, and with life, is knowing that you have a chance to try again tomorrow. That you can tear down the scaffolds. That you can do that oh-so-divine word: edit. You are not flawless every second, and your creations are not masterpieces every time. Procrastination is your shadow-self telling you that you cannot have anything other than perfection, every time. That you don’t have tomorrow.

That’s a lie. There’s time to fail. There’s time to be gentle with yourself. There’s time to make art. If we have the courage to face our failures and start the clock up again, there’s always time to be better.

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