For me, struggling with the creative process isn’t just sitting in front of a blank screen, head in hands, waiting for some inspiration to show me the way forward. That happens, for sure, but there’s another kind of struggle I find just as distressing.
It’s when I’m on my weekend, time off from my day job, and I appear to have loads of time I can devote to my art, whatever it is at the moment…writing, music, beading, drawing, photography, whatever I’m most interested in.
I start off luxuriating in the sense of hours unfettered by the need to rush to squeeze something in before I head off to work. Little by little, my energy dissipates as I browse the net, make elaborate lunches, tidy a few things, make another snack, watch a show and then head for bed.
I’ve told myself I deserve time off, that I’ve been working hard on all my creative projects, and my day job, and I deserve a break. But nothing seemed like fun, so I promise myself I’ll make sure I have fun tomorrow.
The next day of the weekend goes by like the first and by evening, I’m climbing the rafters. I haven’t felt like I’ve given myself a special treat, and I start complaining about my life – why don’t Nick and I go bowling, or out to concerts, or travelling like other people do. I criticize my life and my choices. I feel I’ve lost not so much control as perspective. I’m looking for fun and can’t find it.
And here is where, after an intense talk with Nick, I realize that I’m dealing with some creative block I’ve been unaware of. I know I’m most happy when I’m being creative, and this idea of needing time off from creativity is tricky. Sometimes a switch from one art form to another provides the break and inspiration. Sometimes burying myself in a book for a few hours does it. But when I move restlessly from one “treat” to another without feeling engaged, and when I feel cheated that I’m not going out bowling (which I don’t particularly enjoy) then I wish I could recognize sooner that I’m in the grip of a limitation, an old pattern of behaviour that I haven’t yet healed. Once I recognize what’s happening, the urge to go bowling is forgotten as I wrestle with my personal demon once more, usually in writing, and begin feeling more like myself.
So here’s hoping next weekend I’ll remain aware, I’ll be creative and I’ll have fun!
#creative block #weekends #fun