Recently I had a revelation. Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind-heart, I believe I don’t deserve time to nurture my creativity. That any form of creativity, be it writing, drawing, painting, daydreaming, crafting or anything else is a waste of time, a luxury. It might be an activity I can do after I do “the important things” but to routinely indulge is irresponsible.
That internal belief (a better term is mis-belief) wars with my compulsive need to express myself creatively. This hidden, destructive mis-belief gives no credence to reality and quantifiable facts. The reality is that I feel most alive when I am creating something. It is an observable and repeatable fact that when I spend time creating something of beauty, I am productive in other areas of life. Case in point: a couple of Saturdays ago I was overloaded with homework assignments from multiple courses. I felt I needed to spend the entire day studying, but I’d signed up for a craft class. Even though I probably could have talked with the studio and convinced them to refund my money, I really wanted to learn this craft. I decided, even though it seemed irresponsible, to take the 2-3 hour class and spend the rest of the day studying. (I absolutely loved the class and have ideas for some impressive Christmas presents.) The next 5-7 hours of studying were so productive that by 7pm Saturday evening I was caught up on all assignments and readings through the middle of the next week.
What does this have to do with this week’s Routines for Writers big picture/details theme? I’ll tell you. 🙂
I’ve been wondering if I need to stop trying to hang onto my writing. Maybe it’s time to give it up. It gets harder and harder to write each week. I didn’t expect this. It is understandable that during the emotional upheaval of last year that some of my creativity would shut down. Isn’t it also reasonable to expect at least some of that creativity to return as I have progressed through emotional healing this year? To be honest, I have experienced creative success in several art courses. Not so with writing. In fact, because it has gotten so hard at times to write anything at all, I’ve seriously considered withdrawing from Routines for Writers and abandoning any future writing goals.
Then came the above mentioned revelation. With it came the realization that it is crucial for me to hang onto anything and everything creative I want to do. At this season in my life, I need to battle and overwhelm that mis-belief by feeding and nurturing my creativity. Currently, I’m aided in this fight by my routines. The art courses I take each semester force me to spend time creating. Writing this blog forces me to write. In these and other creative doings, I find peace and joy and a sense of purpose. As difficult as some of my art assignments have been over these past three semesters, I relish them. I have an excuse now to “do art,” to be creative. Because of that, I’ve realized that need for creative expression is as necessary as breathing for me.
That’s the big picture for me. My life must include lots of creative time. Creative time in my daily life is valuable, necessary and to be protected and nurtured. It is as necessary to me as breathing clean, fresh air. The details of my life need to support that big picture view. Even though sitting down to write may be difficult, I need to do it. Even in the midst of more prosaic school assignments, I need to carve out time dedicated to creativity just for creativity’s sake. Above all, I need to confront and root out this erroneous belief that my creative expression is worthless and time spent on it is wasted. The only way I know to do that is to continue creating.
So for now, you’ll find me here each week.