Writers write. Or, so I’ve been told. What happens when we don’t? We come up with other things to do. Laundry is piling up, so I can’t write. The baby has been sick, so I can’t write. I’m in a fibro flare, so I can’t write. My muse is quiet, so I can’t write. Or can I?
The truth is simple: my muse is a lie.
It’s fantastic to think that there is a supernatural force around me guiding me and leading me through my creative endeavors, but that’s bullshit. I’m responsible for the deep well of ideas and the shallow mud that follows as the dry spell rolls in.
I’m finally figuring out the pattern: The dry spells come because of the things that I do so only I can change them.
I work too hard when the ideas hit.
I don’t pace myself. I cram as much creativity in as I can, be it writing, cooking, creating art or working with fibers like yarn and fabric, and then I burn out because my body catches up with me.
Solution: I need a calendar. It’s not sexy being a creator of words and things who is too burned out to create words and things. For the next month, I’m going to list out the projects that I want to do as I think about them and then schedule in time to work on them (with a limit in case I run over. No more staying up til 2 am when the baby gets up at 7 am.)
I don’t “fill the well.”
Because I have a limited amount of free time, I’m generally filling it with the things that I feel like I should do rather than the things that I want to do. That doesn’t help my burnout. In fact, it makes it worse. I feel stressed and tired on top of all my other emotions.
I’ve been paying attention to my health and how I feel when I change certain behaviors, and I’ve noticed the direct correlation between participating in a creative activity for the fun of it and my energy level. Also, when I spend even a few minutes a day sketching, crocheting, or coloring I sleep better that night. My goal is to spend 30 minutes a day – in a chunk or throughout the morning and afternoon – doing something just for the sake of creating.
Solution: My goal is to spend 30 minutes a day – in a chunk or throughout the morning and afternoon – doing something just for the sake of creating.
Living with chronic illness means really working at my sleep. If being creative helps that, it’s a win/win!
I go into hiding.
During the times that the words don’t come to mind during my writing time, I tend to pull away. I become a writer who doesn’t write, so I stop hanging with my writing pals because I don’t want to be the faker on the block. (This works quite well with my introverted tendencies.)
This is so silly! I need people to help keep me motivated, excited, and looking forward to working on something new.
Solution: I’ve been reaching out to groups of creatives. For now, that means becoming more active in groups on Facebook. Once my daughter is older, I’ll be able to start participating in meetups and write ins again. Until then, I’m going to use technology to my advantage and reach out in ways that make it accessible to me right now. Online!
What is your solution for breaking yourself out of a dry creative spell? Tell me in the comments.
© 2017, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman. All rights reserved.