What is my creative process? How do you create something from nothing? More importantly, how do you create while turning off that inner critic, the inner editor that constantly questions whether what you’re creating is ‘right’ or ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’?
I’ve been struggling (more than that – waging a bloody war) with my creativity since the beginning of the year – hence my disappearing act from this space. (My heartfelt apologies to any regular readers, particularly my Godfather who helped ignite this rekindling of a spark the last time I saw him.) Coincidentally, (but probably not) this struggle began as I left my job as a speech writer for the Lord Mayor. Can I blame that job that I struggled with so monumentally for my ‘block’? Maybe, but for how long?
Not this long. So what’s up? My husband CJ sent me a text this morning after he left for work and I was still mooching in bed, too lazy/depressed to get up. It read:Rise and shine my darling! It’s a lovely mellow winter day – not too cold, calming and still – in which you can gather your thoughts before the next step in work and life. Do some exercise, get a massage, and write a blog post. Sending you my love. Always yours.
How many husbands would so thoroughly understand where I’m at right now and why I didn’t want to get up? Maybe many, I don’t know, I’ve only ever had the one, but he seems pretty amazing to me. The fact that he’s so incredibly creative and gets stymied by his own inner critic too, means that he understands me more than just about anyone I know, which is fortunate really, considering he’s my husband. So here I am. Inspired by my Godfather and my husband to sit and write something, anything. So I thought I might as well write my truth, seeing I have nothing I’m working on and a massive fear of starting something new. Here I am. Me and my creative void.
So, my creative process. It was all ticking along smoothly, and then wham! It was like someone tripped a switch and the lights went out. I called an electrician, but he didn’t show and I fumbled around in the dark until I sort of just got used to it and readjusted my life to a new dimness. The thought of turning the lights back on filled me with dread. What if I could see the cracks in things? I was filled with fear. I am filled with fear. It’s nothing new. It’s the same old anathema that’s always plagued me. Lights on or off it’s always there. Thing is, why did I assume I’d be safer in the dark, where in all the best fiction, monsters lurk?
It’s time to shine the spotlight on my scourge instead of ignore its presence in my house. I have always feared my creativity, that’s an absolute in my life. And it is a part of my creative process. If I try to ignore it it paralyses me. If I face it, stare it down, it retreats just enough for me to get my fingers on the keyboard for a while. If I throw some love its way my inner critic takes a short nap and I sit in the flow of my creativity, sail downstream and ride the current all the way to the sea.
I turned the light back on. Just now. Feels good and right and frightening, like all things that are worthwhile.