In November, which was about two months ago , I stopped writing. *GASP*
In fairness, I really stalled out in October. That is, I stopped my major book writing project. It just turned difficult with work stuff, health stuff, and various other stressful and less stressful things. November, ironically, is when I stopped trying to write the book stuff. I still wrote though. I’m intentionally being misleading. I try to write, if not every day, then most days out of the week. I’m writing this in November, for instance.
But I did take on side projects.
Yeah, and then I started making Christmas cards for family members. It started with the immediate family, and then I got carried away with it, kind of. I used InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, all skills obtained via graduate school. I researched card sizes. I searched for decent card stocks available at affordable prices. I had to figure out how I was going to print and cut them. I did everything, and I had fun doing it. It was great to do on multiple levels. I was not only able to use my skills to help me get something out in the world for people that I cared about, but I also was able to refresh myself on what I really enjoy doing outside of, well, writing. Plus, it was great to have a project that wasn’t strictly word and story based, not that there’s anything wrong with that per say.
I’ve said it before in previous blogs: When you come to a wall or are burned out, besides pushing through, take a break and do something else that utilizes the creativity in you.
You’ll either find your old drive rejuvenated or you’ll discover a new flame.
I made over a dozen individual, custom sized Christmas/Holiday cards, and I had a blast doing it! I got to be as specific and inventive as I wanted. No restrictions placed on myself. It was what I needed.
New Year blah blah blah…
You may be wondering to yourself, “Why the new year repetition?” If you’re not, you should be. It’s quite simple, really. This state of creativity or lack thereof is common. Most likely everyone or almost everyone reading this and otherwise who fancies themselves creative in any way and does a creative thing almost exclusively will go through this. And it will happen more than once. It’s no happenstance, freak occurrence. It’s an ailment of the routine and overdoing and boredom.
But, rest assured, it is not a permanent state, usually. What I prescribe might not necessarily be right for you, but you will be able to find your own remedy. I am merely here to give fair warning, and help when and where I can. That’s the idea anyway.
Seriously though… What have I been writing?
Poems mostly. For a while there, I was trying to create a chapbook, but I mostly gave that up. Lately, poetry has come easiest to me. When I want to write but I’m finding it difficult, I’ll go down to the park, watch what’s going on, smell the air, listen, and write a poem detailing everything that I’m experiencing. It’s something I was instructed to do way back when in under grad that I still do, because it works. Granted, the original assignment was just to be a voyeur and write about people, but I found nuances in it which help me when I’m struggling that I enjoy implementing.
I do intend to get back to book writing eventually. Part of the problem is life. It’s hectic and stressful, and it makes it difficult to put in the time and effort I would need to write something this big. That said, I did end up writing about six out of nine essays that I intended to have created. So, I’m not far off from the plan. I’m just on hiatus.
Of course, I couldn’t go without using my creative muscles. Hence the cards.
I’ve seen a lot of people start and eventually give up on projects they’ve set for themselves. I’ve seen a lot of people never return to finish those projects. I’m fortunate in that I’m stubborn about finishing things that I start. I’m aware not everyone is like that. Some of you will need restrictions and/or deadlines from outside sources, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s certainly a good motivator, at the very least. Also, if it’s just something for you, it can be less rewarding than, let’s say, if you’re getting paid to do something. That’s cool too. Money can help immensely.
That said, if you have trouble finishing things that you start for yourself, bring in another person. It can be incredibly helpful to have someone else to rely on to push you into accomplishing goals you set for yourself. That is, I recommend having someone that will hold you accountable and apply pressure when needed. You can’t do everything on your own.
Well, unless you’re crazy like me…
The Key to Success
Accomplishing goals, finishing self-imposed projects, getting published, giving readings, sometimes getting paid for these things, and not having everything spin out of control. These are all elements of what I would consider success.
I think it’s important to understand that success is a subjective term. It can be measured by societal expectations but, ultimately, it’s really a case-by-case thing that is dependent on an individual’s expectations and understandings.
Personally, being able to see through any creative endeavors, whether I’ve made them for myself or been given them by another person, is indicative of me being successful.
So, I can absolutely give up writing, sort of, even for a couple months, and still be successful.
It comes down to perspective.
If you think that fame and fortune are what constitutes as success, which is understandable if you have always lived in a capitalistic society that tells you that, then that’s your bar. I will give fair warning in this regard that viewing that as success may be devastating, especially in the arts where that is rarely accomplished. Of course, if that’s what you want, then that’s what you want.
I encourage people to pursue what makes them happy, within reason, morality, and civility. We’re all going to be here for only so long. And have a great 2018!