Recently there's been a lot of discussion around the ether about work and creativity, work versus creativity, how to be more creative at work, how work can stop you being creative etc. etc. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not at all happy when I'm not doing something creative. Something is a broad sweep of stuff from cooking, (even some cleaning - well, room-changing), thinking up new projects, sewing, some knitting (although a lot of knitting for me is product orientated - finish those socks for winter!) and, of course, writing.
Anything one does every day is important and imposing and
anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.
I stopped my main writing project last week and took time off to write a short story and it felt good. I realised that I don't tend to give myself much time away from a central project once they are in full swing. I imagine I do, because I always have a number of different writing projects that I'm thinking about, but I generally try to concentrate on getting one finished (finish that
There is a lot to be said for consolidating a project, consistently working on it so that it doesn't unravel, but when I think back to how I worked when I was a new writer, this didn't worry me so much. Different projects sifted to the bottom of the pile, others surfaced - I wasn't too concerned just so long as I was consistently working on something. I was also very happy to take days off - and I did, whenever I wanted to or it was holidays or the one of the kids was home sick. So when did I become so stressfully strung out about time? I don't think I can blame my paid work. I don't even think I can blame my family, or the combination of both. I think it's more of an attitude problem I have.
When I feel everything converging on me, I don't step back and look at it sanely, asking myself which small job can be done before a walk in the forest, which small administrative job can be done before dinner etc. I just panic and run at the jobs, fiercely waving my arms and making a tremendous roar. Not very productive. Not very creative. Indeed, not very conducive to fostering creativity.
I think I have spent a good deal of my life writing out new strategies for living creatively - although I usually don't phrase it exactly like that. I usually list things under a Great Big Life List or write screeds of instructions to myself in my journal. How Not to Get Stressed. What You Need To Remember.
I want this history to stop repeating itself and I want to learn, for once and for all, to breathe through the convergence of Things That Must Be Done. Any tips? Leave 'em in the comments - and look out tomorrow for the tuesday poem, transmission resuming! In the meantime check out the short story I'm writing tweet by tweet - @cattyb.