May did not turn out as planned. In the end I could not even pick up my guitar and two days ago everything fell apart. I am so confused right now. In one moment I somehow manage to repress what has happened, in the other I struggle to remember how to breathe. It seems as if the only thing I can do right now to cope with the anxiety and regret is to write. This will be a tough month, but I seem to be the most creative when I don’t feel very well. So maybe this is the perfect month to finally start writing my novel. Maybe it will be easier if I can slip into that other world, just for a little while, and pretend I’m not the girl who broke up with a boy she still loves terribly.
Category Archives: creativity
I have two great evening routines. For many years now I’ve been writing in my feel-good book, not every night, but often. Here I write down a few words about what has happened if I want to (no stressful reporting duties), and – more importantly – “Three (or more) things that I’m grateful for today”, “Something I need help with” and “Something I’ve done to feel good” (such as yoga, meditation or a jog). Writing down these things is a way for me to focus on some positive aspects, even a day when the sun isn’t shining. I strongly adhere to Dalai Lama’s idea that we’re so good at dwelling on the negative aspects in life, that we don’t have to make an effort to remember these, whereas what we really need to make an effort to do is notice all those little miracles in life.
Thanks to the Memento Vivere project, I also finally managed to get back to meditation last August, and now I meditate regularly, almost every evening before I go to bed. Meditation is usually an efficient remedy for my inspiration overload, although every now and then it seems to have the opposite effect, i.e. to open up yet another channel to my creativity. In those cases I simply have to give up and go write down whatever it is that comes flying.
But now to my mornings. My friend and colleague Sara has been meditating in the mornings for quite some time now, and her husband does some yoga. I’ve been envious, since meditation and yoga seem to be such great ways of starting the day. My morning is somewhat more complicated than theirs, since I still have such small kids (my youngest is three), so I’ve simply dismissed the idea. Until a few weeks ago, when I read a blog entry about a woman who had started a new morning ritual, which inspired me so much that I decided to give it a try during my May month. What she did was meditate and write some specific things down in a beautiful book.
I realized that there is indeed some room for me to do something similar. It can’t take more than ten minutes or so, but I can have those ten minutes to myself, after my husband and daughters have left for work and school, and before I take their little brother to kindergarten half an hour later. My son loves to watch some web TV with (really good!) children’s programs in the morning, and I usually let him do that for about a quarter of an hour or so, since it gets him in a good mood. I have now decided to do like this: Instead of walking around picking up things, dressing myself and my son, brushing teeth etc. during those fifteen minutes, I’ll get up a little earlier and make sure that everything is ready when it’s time for his web TV session. Then, while he’s at the computer, I’ll do a short meditation session and then write a few lines in my new notebook, according to the following headings:
- The best things things about yesterday
- My three most important tasks today
- Today’s affirmation (a sentence formulated as if something has already happened, e.g. I have completed X and feel very satisfied with the result, or as a state I want to be in, e.g. Today I feel really creative)
I hope that this will make me more efficient and even more positively tuned than otherwise to my working tasks. Then I’ll try to keep the evening routines as well, as a more general form of relaxation and reflection.
My creative month took an unexpected turn. Due to a workload from hell, several weeks of illness and other unfortunate events, I haven’t had energy or focus to get into the early morning writing habit or practice much guitar improvising. Instead, I have started drawing (which I did a lot as a child but haven’t done at all for years) to relax after long hours of studying, I’ve come up with musical arrangements on the piano for my great grandmother’s funeral, and I’ve spent many hours crafting Harry Potter-themed Christmas gifts for my little sisters, and recording a CD for the adults of my family (although it didn’t get done in time because I got a throat infection and couldn’t sing). One of my goals of this month was to finish something that I’m proud of, and I must say that I am pleased with both the drawings I’ve made and the gifts I made for my sisters. To sum up, this month was a reminder that even if things don’t work out quite the way you’ve planned, it doesn’t have to mean you’re failing. Despite all the stress I’ve been creative doing things I love for people I love, and for me, that is definitely something to be proud of.
Happy new year everyone!
Some say there is a link between depression and creativity, and I must admit that one of the most creative periods in my life so far was during my very worst high school years. I played in a band and wrote most of our songs. I kept a regular diary, made drawings and wrote several poems a week. And now… Nothing. I dream of and think and plan musical and literary masterpieces but I never actually start creating anything anymore. I play some riffs on my guitar but then I realise it sounds like something someone else has already played. I open an empty document and write some words but then I realise it sucks and close it without saving.
So, is it impossible to create good things when you’re not depressed? I don’t think so. I just think I’m too terrified of that first bad draft, whether it’s a song or a novel. I’m painfully aware of its inevitability – I know that I have to write something to ever be able to write something good – and still I’m hopelessly blocked by my own perfectionism. This month it’s time to tear down the walls of doubt by forcing myself to create something, not necessarily something good, but something all the same. My goals for December are as follows:
– Write every morning
I’m still having trouble rising early, but I will try to revert to a good habit that I formed around this time last year (when I literarily had to work with my bachelor’s essay from early in the morning until I went to bed) and include some writing in the process. My plan is to start the days by taking a short walk when my boyfriend goes to work (which is supposed to be around 6 am) and then write freely for 20 minutes while having breakfast. It would get my body and mind started, and give me some writing practice every day. And by rising earlier I wouldn’t have to go mad on the mornings my boyfriend (who works flexible hours) decides to take the late bus and snoozes with the alarm going off every ten minutes for a whole hour.
As long as I can remember, improvising has terrified me. I remember the horrors of my elementary school drama lessons, and I still can’t jam with other musicians, not even my guitar teacher or my boyfriend. But practice makes perfect, right? This month, I’ll devote a large part of my guitar routines to improvising, because if I ever want to find another band or create the great songs that are so far only tiny hopeful fragments soaring through my mind, I will have to learn.
– Make my own christmas gifts
This one is necessary since I’m almost completely broke at the time, but most of all I like to make things for others, and no matter how much I love christmas it feels good to go against to the melting flow of commercialism that it is turning into.
– Finish something
Whether it’s a poem, a song or a painting, I want to finish at least one work of art that I’m proud of this month. And hopefully this can be combined with the goal above.