Health, Living, Uncategorized

Forcing a Spark of Creativity

Oh man, this has taken a while to get to. After going on holiday over a month ago and coming back to the routine of home, I had lost any motivation to create anything. That spanned different areas of my day, from creating new resources for my classrooms to creating an enticing meal that my husband would eat politely while adding mountains of condiments. Losing that spark, that enjoyment, of creativity makes me feel like I am simply going through the motions of day to day activities with nothing to separate the routine and boredom. I don’t consider myself to be an insanely clever person who can pick up anything and make it artistic/tasty/beautiful, etc., but that does not mean that I don’t enjoy the process. Failing at something creative is better than never giving it a try at all.

Damn, why hadn’t I thought of this?

Blogging was something I always wanted to try. Not for vanity, or for fame and fortune (thank goodness for that, otherwise I would no doubt have had to file for bankruptcy by now), but for the fun of discovering how to write for other people. Journalling is fulfilling and I pursue that passionately, but that is writing for myself (not that I don’t hope one day, centuries from now, someone will discover my many journals and publish them as pieces of great literature). Writing for other people takes time, energy, and a little bit of focus – add all those things together and the procrastination monster can rear its ugly head against them. I knew from the start of this little endeavour that there was a very real possibility that I would stop after a couple of months. All I needed was an excuse to stop and I would forget it ever happened. That excuse turned out to be an aggressively unhealthy vacation to Scotland, where rugby tournaments dominated along with drinking, eating, and sedentary days.

Coming back from that was like waking up from a long and very fitful nap. I spent the first few days recovering from jet lag and hangovers, and then after I simply floated from one day to the next, never feeling the need to fill them up with anything but the bare minimum. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that I wasn’t happy with that arrangement. I’m an active lady, but there’s only so many hours of the day that you can spend outside (especially in Vancouver in the Spring) or in the gym (especially if it’s an airless room shared by very sweaty men). I needed to find another outlet in which to spend my time, ideally one where I could be creative. I tried out some in the past few weeks: sketching was great, I could do it while I watched TV. Cooking and baking were great, I could do them while I watched TV. Knitting was all right, I could do it while I watched TV. It doesn’t take a genius to see a pattern forming.

TV remains an enjoyable distraction for me, but I’m actively working towards reducing the time I spend in its mind-numbing embrace. I realized that in order to feel better about myself and my existence (truly, I’ve had some very existential journal entries over the past few weeks) I needed to turn off the TV, and let quiet reign while I worked on something. That spark of an idea didn’t come for a long time. I sat in front of the computer, staring, and nothing happened. I needed to really force it this time.

Just fucking do SOMETHING! (This photo actually does look like a lot of fun to make a mess of.)

Forcing creativity isn’t actually as hard as it seems. All it takes is patience and a willingness to take the first little step. As I stared at my computer screen I decided I didn’t need to write a masterpiece, I just needed to write something. I tapped away, and before I knew it a whole shitload of ideas found themselves on my screen. It was as if I’d been holding them in for a month and they were bursting to get out. Maybe creativity needs an outlet, and if we let it bottle up too much it can affect our sense of self. I realize that it isn’t ideal to force creativity each and every time, but it may be what’s needed to break through when boredom sets in. Thoughts?

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