One of the tasks in the course on spiritual development I’m taking this month was about trying to associate a colour with one of the other participants in the course, and then tell this person about your associations. A few days ago I got this message:
The color I associate with you is yellow, wonderfully warm yellow with hints of gold. I also get a positive and very creative feeling, combined with a strong desire for self-fulfillment. You have just discovered your inner sun and you let it shine and touch everyone you meet.
I was very happy about the message, and I particularly felt that this woman’s words about my creativity felt so good right now. As a child I dreamt of becoming a writer, and I have indeed been a textbook writer for quite a few years, but last week I embarked on a new project: writing a novel. Together with Miranda I went on a writers’ retreat for some days, a bit scared about finally awarding myself the time to start writing. What if I wouldn’t have anything to say?
But I shouldn’t have worried. The words just came to me, and in those few days, in those beautiful surroundings, I wrote about 25 pages of text – loving every minute of it. Of course it’s easier because I utilize my own experiences, feeling and thoughts to a great extent, but I was very pleased to note that I had no problems leaving the autobiographical parts and invent things that have never happened either. I’m now looking forward to a long summer where I will squeeze in novel writing whenever I have some time off – from children, bathing, cooking and mowing the lawn. It feels just like falling in love.
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.
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.