I’ve heard every excuse under the sun that keeps people from writing, designing, composing, and otherwise creating great work. “I’m too busy and can’t find the time,” ranks right at the top, along with whining, “I get distracted,” or “I’m tired after working at my day job.” But recently I was reminded of the challenges Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes experienced, and suddenly, our feeble excuses don’t sound like much. Here’s the way writer David Wooton describes it:
“This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote” (1605). Cervantes had fought and been badly injured at the 1571 battle of Lepanto; later he was captured by Barbary pirates and held as a slave by the Ottomans for five years while awaiting ransom. He made repeated attempts to escape in full knowledge of the gruesome fate that awaited him the moment his captors decided he was more trouble than he was worth: A slave who helped him in one of his attempts was tortured to death before his eyes. Free at last, he became a playwright and tax collector and spent time in prison for debt. It was in prison that he began his great work. Although “Don Quixote” was an immediate and extraordinary success, Cervantes made (in the absence of any form of copyright) little from it and died in poverty. “Don Quixote” is indisputably one of the greatest novels of all time.”
Remember that whatever crisis you’re experiencing could be the forge that fires your greatest creativity. So until we get wounded in battle, held as a slave, spent time in prison (or all of the above), we should all shut up and get back to work.