I was in a candle store the other day and I saw that one of their new scents was “Whoopie Pie.” Now for those of you who didn’t grow up in Maine, a real, authentic whoopie pie is a classic dessert of two round chocolate cakes held together by a white cream frosting. There are only three acceptable places to procure whoopie pies: A mini-mart counter at a gas station, in your childhood kitchen baked from scratch by your mom or an aunt or at Frank’s Bake Shop in Bangor, Maine. But I digress…
I was at the candle store and spotted the whoopie pie scented candle. I took the lid off, inhaled deeply, and…was disappointed. It seemed so promising at first. The candle almost smelled like a whoopie pie, but in the end, as the faux scent of chocolate dissipated, I realized, although it was close, it just wasn’t the same as the real thing.
No kidding, you may be thinking. What would possess me to even think it would be the same thing? I mean, it’s a candle, not a freshly-baked dessert. But it got me thinking about how often we sometimes confuse real creative work with cleverly disguised impostors. For example:
* Rewriting a script “just one more time” before submitting it to a festival only to find you are never able to let go because it’s never “perfect.”
* Researching information for weeks and weeks to make sure your great new invention hasn’t been developed before but never moving past the idea phase to get it to market.
* Spending hours pinning ideas on Pinterest “for the future” instead of actually creating something.
* Reading article after article on the internet for inspiration before writing your next blog entry.
* Learning how to play all the songs by your favorite artists, but never actually writing one of your own even though you desperately want to be known as a songwriter.
I could keep going but you get the idea. The complicating factor is that all of these actions are good up to a certain point- you do need information and practice and research but if it never leads to creative output, then everything you are doing is just posing as a useful step in your process. In the end, you’re left with nothing, creatively speaking. It’s really just a whoopie pie candle – which when burned, makes it seem like you’ve spent the day baking, but if you are expecting dessert, you’re just going to be disappointed.
Don’t buy the candle – bake instead. In the end, it’s only the real work, not some reasonable facsimile that will get you where you truly want to be.