Creativity On Hold

Lately I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to, and it’s been bothering me. There have been external factors which have pushed their way into the time I usually have to daydream and scribble and think up new stories or ideas. There are times when I need to be a responsible adult, which is fine, but there is a feeling of restlessness and irritation at this incursion. As if I’m existing rather than living.

So what to do? I’m sure that normal transmission will resume sometime soon, but there will be other times where what makes me feel most alive – the daydreaming, creative side of me – will be jostled aside. I don’t want to feel like I’m going through the motions so I need to have a strategy for when this creative time is only available in small sips, rather than big gulps.

Here are some thoughts I’ve had on how to make the most of the available time.

Snatch Time. The little bursts of minutes when you’re waiting for someone or something, leave the mobile alone for a moment and look around. Take in what is going on, or spot something that you wouldn’t normally see and look, really look. There might be the trigger for a character or short story idea, or you might overhear the perfect phrasing for some dialogue.

Be Spontaneous. More challenging for a methodical mind such as mine. One of my highlights in the past week involved just stopping my usual point A to point B routine to take a photo for the #MyISpy game that I have been writing blog posts about. It was less than a handful of minutes in my day but there was the exhilaration of doing something out of the ordinary, and it still makes me smile days later.

Turn Up. I’ve been tired and grumpy and yawny and generally not in the mood to do anything creative at my usual time. But I know that if I get up and write the morning pages I can shoehorn at least a bit of creativity into my day, even if it is a jumble of thoughts that I can unwind at a later date when I have a bit more time.

Accept Limitations. Things happen. Great plans become unstuck. Guilting myself won’t help but understanding that I have to focus my attention elsewhere for a while makes it easier to endure, and I know that if I jot down bits and pieces when I can, there will be something that I can work with when my time is more my own.

What do you do when life gets in the way of your creative output?

[Photo: old postal and telephone switchboard equipment at the Wyalong Museum]

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Creativity On Hold

  1. I feel the same at the moment, not writing as much as usual. Though I think it is normal to have times of ’emptiness’, when you need to focus on ‘refilling’ yourself with ideas and inspiration, and then to wait for the ‘gestation’ or ‘composting’ of those ideas to take place. Your thoughts about how to deal with this are really useful though. I always try to write down ideas, however small/irrelevant/silly, because I never know when they might become useful at a later date; and I’ve learnt to accept my limitations (we all have them), and not to be hard on myself when I am not feeling creative. As you say, normal transmission will resume sometime soon. It’s just a matter of being patient.

    • Thank you for your kind words – it is good to know that I’m not alone in going through patches such as these. Sometimes you do need a spell, even if the timing isn’t of your own choosing. And you are right, your mind is still hunting and gathering those loose threads which might just weave up into something special. It is quite amazing how the scratching down of some of these threads can become something more substantial at a later date. It will be interesting to see what happens next 😊

  2. I also find that when responsibility trumps creativity, I feel irritable. I am working on forgiving myself for not being able to do all I want in one day, but it’s a work in progress. I know that words fight to move from my head to keyboard, and they will have their time when the time is right.

    • What a great approach, Gail. I still get caught up on the cycle of all that I ‘should’ do somedays, rather than what I can accomplish in a reasonable manner. And the words will swirl around my mind, ready for when I return to my desk. Thanks for sharing your experience – I don’t feel so alone 😊.

      • We’re definitely not alone. As long as I have a day job, it is my priority. If it depletes my energy to write and walk (my two favorite things), it’s not a great day.

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