On Being Creative When Life Gets Busy

Life is busy

Everyone has their own level and intensity of busy-ness, I am no exception. It also comes as no surprise that there aren’t enough hours in a day. Nor enough energy to do everything on your list.

So, then you must make decisions.

Those decisions include what is most important and what is least important. Of course there are things that have to be done i.e. eating, sleeping, work – if you want to eat and have a roof over your head, laundry, family obligations. For the most part these things are required and are non-negotiable.

For a long while, I have struggled with balance. I talk about it a lot. Here, and here. And I know I am not alone.

My desire has been to live a creative life. So, why is it that when I am building a life that will allow me more time and freedom to create, I no longer take the time to write.

Don’t get me wrong. I still write daily. Most of the time it is toward more “productive” endeavors and yet, that yearning to write and lose myself in a story begins to bubble to the surface.

What does this mean?

For me the act of creation is taking an idea, most often an image in my mind, and build the story. Creation means letting go of all of those “required” tasks. Creation means giving my mind the freedom to play. Putting the words on paper, searching for that exact word to make the meaning clear is soul filling and brings me such joy.

Yet, when life gets busy and I am spending all of my creative energy on my side hustle my writing life get tossed to the side?

This is the part that I struggle with: If I am working so hard to build a creative life why is it not more important.

This is one of those question of value.

What is more important? Making money and a living? Or, feeding your creative side.

Of course the answer is that both things are important. However, finding a balance between the two is key.

Again with the balance.

Yes, balance is, I’m discovering, never a thing that ‘once and done’. Balance requires looking at your life every day, sometimes moment by moment, to see where things lie.

Balance has become a calm voice of reason, one that whispers ‘it’s okay, your dream is still out there’ as I find negativity in my thoughts at the end of the day.

Balance is petting the cat just after she is fed because that is her favorite time for touch. It is taking that moment to see the connection and letting her go because that is what she wants.

Balance is stepping outside to look at the sky, focusing for a moment on something much bigger than myself.

A Soft Reset

Taking the time to breath in the cool night air as I head back into my house to bed, has become a nightly ritual. Right now I can see the stars and Mars, at least on a clear day, and in that moment nothing else matters.

It is soft reset button. A pause to see something bigger than the internal battle I wage each day between making a living and making a life.

I hope you take a moment to find your soft reset button. It only takes a moment but if you stop and breathe deep. You can give yourself just that little bit extra energy to finish the day.

Until next time,
Angela

Creative Doldrums

christmas-1786591_1920It’s almost the end of the first week of December and I haven’t written more than 800 words. The struggle with this is that none of these 800 words written in December have been on my work in progress, i.e. my NaNoWriMo 2016 novel. Sitting down to write is the last thing on my mind

I have the doldrums.

This happens often during December.

NaNoWriMo, with all of its wonderful energy and connectedness, is over, and writing once again becomes a solitary occupation.

And, then comes the holiday’s with all of the craziness they can muster.

Doesn’t it seem as if, no matter what you do, the holidays become out of control? How?

When all of this happens, being creative is a struggle.

Most of the time, all I want to do is wrap up in a blanket, watch movies and wait until December is over. Of course that isn’t necessarily a good idea. It is so hard to begin writing again if I don’t keep the habit up.

I have found a few things to entertain myself:

A capella holiday music. Pentatonix to be specific. This group is fantastic and I highly recommend them (www.ptxofficial.com).

Holiday lights are plentiful in my area and the drive home has been fun. We don’t do much outside (or inside) decorating, mostly because I’ve been known to leave my tree up until spring, and I really appreciate those that put the effort in.

15392978_10104526675747528_93128939628674883_oWatching kids sit on Santa’s lap was great fun for me and it wasn’t only about my own grandkids. My work hosted the local Breakfast with Santa and I had the privilege to take the pictures for this event. My friend Amie did a fabulous job, as did Mr. and Mrs. Claus, in making this a wonderful day.

 

Though I am not going to be hard on myself for this struggle with my creativity during this time, I am going to keep focused on my goal – writing 500 words each day. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll finish that first draft by the end of December.

How do you stay creative when things are crazy in your life?

 

Feng Shui Resistance

feng-shui-resistanceI must admit I procrastinate, freely and, mostly, unapologetically. But I realized tonight that my procrastination is a mask for something else:

Resistance.

I’ve written about resistance previously; you can read that post here.

Tonight is different. With so many different things competing for my attention, it is easy to get caught up in the madness.

The madness caught up with me in the way of my office being nearly unusable due to chaos and general messiness.

Now, I am not a complete neat freak nor do I spend a lot of time worrying about how things look. But every once in a while, it all reaches this measure of fullness, and I have to do something about it.

I must clean, organize, do laundry, file paperwork, etc. until there is space in my life again.

I find myself in a cluttered headspace and workspace. My office (both of them) has stacks of paperwork all over, books piled up, and I’m finding it difficult to work.

Here is where the resistance comes in.

Instead of going to my office to write, which is what is for, I find myself avoiding all manner of work. I will read, play games, check email, etc. until the time I have for work is gone, and then I beat myself up for not getting anything done. Repeatedly.

As I stepped into my office this afternoon, my thoughts went immediately to moving the furniture around to clean things up. Now, my writing space is small, and there are few ways everything can be moved around and still have room to work. I know, I’ve done them all. My office doesn’t need to be moved around to work.

It needs to be straightened up, and the garbage tossed. I need to sort the papers between filing and the garbage can. Anything that doesn’t belong needs re-homing. It truly only takes minutes.

I couldn’t work until my desk was tidy.

At least that is what I kept telling myself.

Give it whatever name you want, the real culprit is resistance.

Resistance is what kept me from my work, not the untidy desk.

Resistance is a refusal to comply. It doesn’t matter what you want to comply with, any excuse to keep you from doing what you want to do is resistance.

Resistance says, “I can’t write until my desk is tidy.”

Resistance says, “I must make dinner for my family before I can create.”

Resistance says, “The house comes before writing.”

Resistance says, “My creative life is just a hobby, everything else is the important work in my life.”

Resistance is at the heart of every failed goal, every story that didn’t get finished, every painting that was tossed, for every creative thing that didn’t get created.

Resistance is also very subtle. It comes most often quietly, in whispers, feeding you a lie, which you fall for and then sucks you into the circle of resistance.

If I were you, I would be angry right now. Resistance has stolen something from you. It has stolen your drive and ambition. It has taken the time you would have had to devote to your craft. All the extra energy you might have had is now taken in by this idea of resistance. Anger is the only defense.

You can’t reason with anger; it must be confronted then ignored. If you only ignore, it may grow stronger and become more difficult to assuage. Confronting the anger also gives you an idea of some of the bigger issues that linger.

Just as with any skill, you must practice noticing the resistance, thereby reducing its power, before moving on with you work. Because that is the goal, getting your work done, in whatever form that takes.

As I write this, I am at my semi-tidy desk, pointedly ignoring the pile of papers on the floor. Resistance didn’t win this time.

Confronting the resistance in my life is a constant struggle and is exhausting.

It is better that I sit down with my work before those thoughts kick in; at least I will get some work done.

What are some ways that resistance makes itself present in your life?