Someone sent me an email about this series. (Links to other articles in series are at the bottom of this post). The writer asked, “How many posts are you going to tease us with till you show us the end? When will you get your creativity back?” It’s not a bad question, given most social media use today. There are click-bait headlines, promising first lines that are never fulfilled, and how-to articles that never tell you how to. My answer is a bit more complex: I don’t know what happens next. That’s why I’m writing about it as it happens.
Here’s the conclusion: I think I heard my creativity out on the balcony last night. I didn’t get up and I didn’t open the door. She’ll have to do better than that, and I wasn’t about to have the “where have you been?” conversation at 3 a.m. And it could have been the wind or a pigeon. Which says a lot about the scope of my creativity.
What have I done to move ahead?
- I’m continuing writing down three things that worked at the end of every day. Still no big leaps. Mixed blueberries into yogurt and kept everything in the bowl. No big success there, but it was a success, so I noted it.
- The Caran D’Ache Neocolor II box came. Playing with them was fun, more fun than I thought. (You can read a review on my art blog and see the experimentation.) The entire time I felt shaky, unsure of what I wanted to do, incompetent and unhappy. That’s a good sign. Feeling a variety of emotions means I am still capable of having emotions and recognizing them, even wishing for different ones.
- I keep an index card next to my laptop. When I see a clever quote or short poem, I copy it onto the index card. As a word person, having material to work with is just part of the game. Having materials to work with close at hand and having more than one thing is even better. I’m planning ahead to the time when studio work is enticing. My favorite so far (posted by my sister-in-law, Eva): Sometimes the fear won’t go away and you will have to do it afraid. So timely. So right.
- I’m still practicing being OK with not being OK. The importance of this is not to be under-estimated. No beating myself up, no forcing anything. Sitting and waiting. Hardest thing in the world. One night it went on the list because I did a really good job of truly not being attached to getting over myself.
I enjoy acting as if my creativity is just down the street instead of heaven-knows-where getting into who- knows-what. And maybe that becomes #5: Act “as if” until creativity drags herself back home.
Links to previous articles:
Creative Freeze Out was the first time I mentioned the problem.
Post-Traumatic Growth was a hopeful view; surely this would be over soon.
In Search of Creativity was the realization that this could not be hurried, and a list of what I was doing to bring back my creativity.
—Quinn McDonald is turning her existential dread into a farce. Feel free to join in.