blog,  writing

The creativity curve, and time for the cure.

Creativity is a fickle little brat. You know, I try my best to be disciplined. Okay, that’s a blatant lie.

Let me try this again.

I’m not good at being disciplined, but I occasionally make the effort to do more than write whenever I feel like it. I write when I can. And what exactly the magic mix that entices me to write thousands of words at a go might be… well, damned if I know. Sometimes opening up my laptop and staring at Scrivener is akin to a holy experience, the story unfolding in front of me faster than I can type. Other times, I feel like a dried up husk with bad anecdotes and virtually no abilities.

For all my shortcomings as a human being (vices include: sloth (procrastination), gluttony (cheese and wine please), and envy (why the CRAP is [soandso] published and I’m not), I think I have enough redeeming qualities to move me from a) person who talks about being a writer but doesn’t really do it enough to qualify to b) person who actually writes books, short stories, and completes them. Granted, I’m not as clever or as skilled as a metric ton of other writers out there, but from my experience gleaning the shelves of local bookstores, wit and talent have little to do with actually being published.

What’s frustrating is my inability to sustain. Sure, I go through phases where I literally drip words. I write tens of thousands of words in a week; I am bombarded at every turn by plot twists, character dialogue snippets, and intriguing word combinations. I can’t escape thinking about what I’m writing if I tried (which, in the case of last night, kept me up way past my bed-time).

But then? It’s like someone quite surreptitiously turns off the lights, cuts the power, and takes away my wine. I sit down to write, and it’s void. A chasm. Emptiness, despair. My own little Swamp of Sorrows. Just for me. How lucky I am. Worse even, I look back at what I’ve written and cringe, feel ill, and have to suppress the desire to kill everything I’ve worked on up to that point with fire. Sulfuric fire. Or a lake of fire. Something along those lines.

I have no one to blame but my own frustrating self, because I know it’s possible. I know I am capable. I just have no idea what’s at the root of the highs and lows of my writing habits. And that, friends, is really what ticks me off.

When I decided to Be A Writer, I vowed to write. I promised myself that I’d be more than someone who dabbles, that puts cute ideas together and ponders the possibility of ever finishing. With this new year, I no longer have a full-time job in the Real World–but I am a full-time Mom.  Until I am old and withered, I will always have other things to do.

See, organized people would try and figure out what causes these rises and falls in creativity. They’d get out Google Calendar and every day they’d rate themselves on how they feel, and what they’ve done and eaten, and how much sun they’ve seen, and take all that evidence, digest it a bit, and proclaim triumphantly after a year’s worth of data and compiling that [THIS] is the cause of their oscillation.

I am not that person.

Alas. I am going to go back and try and get back in this groove. Except writing today feels like putting on a damp shirt from the dryer that was left too long in the wash; musty, wet, and cold all at the same time.

I think it might be time for the Cure.

Hah. Irony.

No Comments

  • Erik Stell

    Creative highs and lows are not uncommon, regardless of the chosen profession. Sitting at an easel sometimes pays me with rewards, and sometimes pure frustration. There really is no system to nail down and isolate, it’s purely at the mercy of our minds.

    But, I’ve often found the Cure to be a good remedy… 😉

  • Jenn

    I feel your pain, frustration, befuddlement. Funny thing, though, you seem to be okay with the duct-tape fix, moving through it and getting writing done. Period. I have a conflict with wanting the duct-tape fix, the just do it attitude, but I get mired in the description you gave of the organized person–I want to pick apart some reason why, chart it out, avoid coming to that obstacle in the future.

    This year has claimed the resolution of “the year I shall unjumble myself.” Writing is sure to follow once the kittens making the mess in my mental health yarn are banished! HA!

    Can’t wait to read more here from you!

    • Natania

      I wish I could give more concrete advice as to how to move through. The truth is I have no friggin’ idea how it actually works. I do know that for years, when I was with a Wrong Person, I couldn’t write. It didn’t happen. Not that it’s a Wrong Person in your life, but there may be some sort of block that’s not allowing the creativity to flow as it ought. Like, mental feng shuei or something. 🙂

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