I attended a writing group recently. Sort of a self help, mentoring, give and get advice group in which ten of us sit around as support for one another.
I explained my dilemma. I was having trouble getting my non-fiction book finished, my fiction book edited, and keeping up with writing a post for my blog, my LinkedIn account and my Huffington Post account every week. Several looked at me aghast at this work level. “You mean you write that much EVERY WEEK? Somebody’s an overachiever.” They quickly called me to the plate.
Guiltily I nodded, knowing full well I wrote double, even triple the amount I claimed between my writing and all of the writing I did for clients.
Ding ding ding. Maybe that’s why I was having trouble keeping up with it all lately.
Maybe that’s why I simply wasn’t motivated to do any of it. I was tired. Just flat out tired. I whined a lot. I ignored some of my tasks. I skipped over emails I didn’t feel like answering. I avoided things that didn’t sound interesting. I avoided social media. And in all reality, I was getting to the point of not caring much about anything.
I’ve been in this predicament before. In fact, I’ve been there many times before.
And when I get like this, I move away from the computer, and start doing other things instead. It’s summer, which gives me a great excuse to get outside. And luckily right here in our new community, they have concerts every night of the week. So every night at 5 you’ll find me loading up sandwiches and salads into my cooler, and disappearing to an outdoor event to get lost in. Just this pass week I attended concerts by the symphony, a harmonica player, a jazz group, Quarterflash, and a Latin singer that was truly amazing. Saturday night was a little different as we headed off to Shakespeare in the Park.
And while I love getting lost in great music, the other side of me loves getting lost in books as well. I have 22 books checked out from the library at the moment, and have one-third of them started at one point or another.
(Yes, the overachiever in me never dies, no matter what I’m doing.)
Then there’s my Amazon account, which keeps my iPad filled with great books and great shows. Have you seen Enlightenment? And don’t forget Netflix – I binge watch several shows at any given time. Have you seen Sense8?
I have this sort of ebb and flow all year long.
I’m active all the time.
But lately I’ve noticed I’m either creative … or not. The passion is high … or its not. I’m either super motivated … or have very little ambition at all.
What is it that makes me all in … or nothing?
Maybe it’s a lot like Steven Pressfield stated in his book The War Of Art.
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
Yes, I have a lot going on at one time. That’s who I am. And I regularly have people asking me how I fit it all in.
But the more I thought about it, the more I discovered the amount of work wasn’t my true problem. Instead, it was the passion level of the work I was producing.
I wasn’t afraid of the work on my plate, I had no passion for it at all. I wasn’t writing from my heart, I was writing based on what I “thought” other people wanted to hear.
Without the passion, my work ceased to be the best it could be.
Without the passion, I had very little desire to keep creating. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say; I have fear of releasing what is deep in my heart. I have fear of facing what I know is inevitable … change.
So I use other forms of creativity to inspire me once again.
The summer is coming to an end. September will be upon us before we know it. The concerts will be over, my obsession with Netflix will soon grow tiring. (Well, maybe.)
In any case the days will grow shorter, the rain will set in, the coolness will return. I’ll have more time on my hands to dive into my writing once again.
That’s how creativity flows. Always has. And I’m willing to bet it always will.
You can’t choose your creative spurts. You simply have to be there waiting for when they return. You have to nurture yourself along the way, feeding it with inspiration from a variety of sources. It all inspires you, whether you realize it or not.
What inspires you?