Staying creative when you don’t feel like it
I’m writing this blog today, one week into the new school term and as usual in September I’m suffering that general malaise that comes with exposure to a charming cocktail of back-to-school germs.
My diary is full. I have social media posts to create, workshop content to finish, school event presentations to practice, oh and the tiny matter of an edit deadline for book two (and I’m not even going to mention all the general life and adulting chores piling up).
But I feel rubbish, and not at all like doing any of these things. (Get out those tiny violins, playing just for me.)
This happens to us all from time to time and for various reasons – this one I’m blaming on child-borne viral-invaders, but it could be anxiety or worry, writers’ block, exhaustion, poor mental health – whatever it is, it sends the creative spark diving under a blanket, which is probably where you feel like being too. I could push through, but should I? I’ve gone for something else instead.
has been to try and find a balance between getting something done (and therefore not contributing to my ever-present anxiety, by piling on guilt and panic) and self-care. My OH left me this morning with a chirpy ‘try and take it easy today’, which at first sent me into a whirling, wailing frenzy: ‘But I’ve got sooo much to do’, but actually he was on to something. It just required me to figure out how I could do both. Get somethingdone andveg on the sofa with the remote.
This is not a self-help manual
It’s not my intention to patronise and tell you how to have a duvet-day, or advise eating the entire contents of the fruit bowl, or order you chicken soup on Deliveroo. Instead I’m going to just say, be kind to yourself. Writing is a full-time job – and by that I mean writers do it twenty-four hours a day. Paper and pen/laptop moments are just one element of the work, the mind is always on call as a writer, looking out for an idea, a plot device, a feeling, a panic, a memory, so it’s necessary that it needs a bit of down-time. Half that ‘non-production’ guilt can be binned if you consider a day off as a break for the mind, in order to increase its post-rest productivity.
TV is research, reading broadens the mind, likewise, doing a puzzle or knitting or anything that allows the brain to rest and gather its thoughts and recharge.
So, I did okay
I managed a few social posts (not too taxing) whilst studying 13 Reasons plot points, and then squeezed in a quick blog (this one) before flopping back down for lunch and MindHunters. No, I didn’t get everything done that I ‘needed’ to. But perhaps that’s just because I forgot I ‘needed’ a break.