It’s a word I know and understand. At times in my life everything has been a slog – a battle to get through. My slog had not been as pronounced as some. Those that climb mountains and enter the ‘death zone’; they slog through pain and cold in order to reach their goal. I have no such lofty expectations.
I just want to be able to write and draw.
That is all.
But the slog can be both internal and external. I can find myself tired from creating all day, and with the heavy eyes there comes the doubts. It’s almost as if the demons wait until they know I am unable to hold them back and then they attack.
‘You can’t do it’, they whisper. ‘You are no good’… and the best one of the lot – ‘you ought to get a proper job’.
They grumble and mumble through my brain as my eyes close. But then in the morning the sun rises and I smile again. Today I get to do what I love. I get write and draw. I create all day and sometimes the demons attack again, but mostly they stay silent.
At the book fair I did earlier this month people asked where I had been – had I just appeared with nine books written. I tried to explain that I had been working hard for a couple of years but they just shook their head. They loved the books but I had just suddenly ‘appeared’. They didn’t see the slog… They couldn’t hear the demons.
But for anyone creative I guess that is the problem. People look at the art on the wall or hold a book in their hand, or even play a computer game, and they have no thought to the slog that has gone into it. The months of work, the headaches and the self-doubt. But if they did know would it help them? Would the artwork be anymore emotional or the book better? I don’t think so. For those of us who work at being creative the slog is ours only. It is the process that makes us create what we do. It’s the drive that makes us do it. And yes, some don’t make it but those of us stubborn enough to hang on while the demons scream as us, will. One day we will be in a fair or looking at reviews, or in a gallery and someone will say that the creation has come out of the blue. That we have just appeared.
Then we can smile and think of the slog and throw two fingers at the demons. They were so wrong.