So, May sort of came, beat up everybody, and left. It feels like it should still be April 17th.
But it’s not. It’s the first of June.
How’d that happen?
I didn’t get as much done this year as I’d hoped by now, certainly not bookwise – I know, I know, the books still aren’t up. Good gravy, that’s been a learning process. The two biggest things I learned are: stress interferes with our creative processes, and social media steals time.
So rather than wax eloquent about writing, I figured I’d write an update post to you, Dear Reader, and see where we go from here.
Our dog, Coyote, died on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Man, that’s been hard. We had to take her to the vet to be put to sleep, because she was sick all weekend. I don’t really want to talk about it, but I figured it’s important news so I should share.
My coauthor and partner Rachel came in for a visit earlier in May, but Murphy’s Law prevailed and pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. That was the Vacation That Wasn’t, and again, I don’t really want to talk about it.
But as it turns out, stress has an effect on creativity. In preparing some pictures for today, I noticed that I never finished the A to Z Challenge in April, and I still have pictures that I took for it. I’m not sure if I have any wisdom to share about not posting them, other than to say, sometimes, life gets in the way of our creative plans and we need to honor that. The only way I’ve found to get back on the page is to, well, get back on the page. Hence today’s post.
Another thing I’ve observed and talked about in the past is using other creative outlets when one is blocked in a particular one. For me, that’s typically been knitting. Over the last few months of job upheaval, and particularly at the end of last year when I was in the thick of it, I wasn’t able to even knit. I just didn’t have the heart for it. In January and February, I was able to play with my pin loom and learn some pin loom weaving, but it wasn’t “real” creative work. It was solely creative play. I finally got back to the semi-circular shawl I’d started designing in January, and am now about half done.
I think that’s a critical distinction, this difference between creative work and creative play. I don’t know that I have any answers yet, but I’m learning there is definitely a difference for me. Creative work is goal oriented: “get Burning Bright up on Draft2Digital and upload it to retailers and my website,” which requires me to learn Draft2Digital, Amazon ebook and Amazon paper book uploads, Draft2Digital interface for the other retailers (non-Amazon), and learn MyBookTable, which is a WordPress widget that lets me build a bookstore on the website (I use WordPress to run this and my other sites). Creative play is also critical, to me being happy and contented as an artist. And in order to feel like working on any kind of play, I’ve found I need to feel grounded, which is why the work-related bullshit was so disruptive to my life.
On the other hand, my husband and I have had some true breakthroughs this last two or three months. We finally opened a local bank account (which is something on our task list since we moved here last year) at a local credit union, got our taxes sorted out (which is huge since we owe an arm and a leg to Uncle Sam from financing the move with premature retirement distributions). We’ve been culling our stuff, still, which is honestly a little surprising because I thought we’d done all that when we moved. Nope. We culled about 15 or 20 paper grocery bags of books, a portable heater, two bookcases, and a copper fire pit last weekend. We completely reconfigured our home office, which really opened up the space. It’s startling how much of a difference that makes.
My new employer allows me the privilege of working from home two days a week, and that’s been a real adjustment. It took a while for me to settle into that new routine, but I’m finding I really like it. I’m an extrovert, and I thought I’d hate it to pieces because it’s just me and the animals at home. But in fact, I’m really liking the peace and quiet, and it really lets me hear myself think in relation to my work and that’s allowed me to be more strategic and intentional. And that’s surprisingly fun.
So like I said, May was a pretty intense month. I’m looking forward to June. The weather is brightening up and we have some hiking planned and a weekend vacation to the Oregon coast later in the month. And yes, I promise, I’m working on uploading the books. And finishing the knitting. And doing the weaving.
In short, I’m practicing being in the moment and following my bliss. And that is surprisingly easy and hard, all at the same time.
I hope you have a lovely weekend, Dear Reader. And if you’d like, I’d love to hear about your Spring in the comments, and what excites you about Summer – or, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, your Autumn and Winter.