Less Than Creative
It’s January. A time of new beginnings, new opportunities, increased focused–the time to enact plans and move mountains. It’s time to soar.
But sometimes we’re just not capable of soaring, or moving mountains or even functioning. Sometimes we’re standing still and that’s just that.
Boy, has this fact come home to roost this year for me. Typically, I’m so busy in January that it passes in a blur and I find myself wondering where it went. I’m taking off in so many directions on so many fronts, doing all those things I’ve wanted and planned to do in the new year. I ordinarily love January even though I’m a summer person. Give me a ballgame, a decent chair and a team to cheer for, and I’m a happy camper. But January is different. Fresh starts, chances, it’s the time we begin or begin again and try new things. It’s exciting. And invigorating, filled with promise and hope.
But for me this January is different. The holidays are but a blur spent sick and in pain. And so they’ve come and gone without the usual joyful gatherings and traditions. Now it’s mid-January and I’m still doing a lot of business things I typically do before the end of the year, and I haven’t firmed up my plans and set them in concrete on paper yet.
I’m an organized person and these lacks could have me in knots, and yet they don’t. I wondered why. And I realized that I’m just so glad to be healing and grateful to be here that all the rest seems like small stuff that will sort itself out eventually. I can’t muster unease or concern. Maybe I should. I have a new book coming out in two days and I’m way behind on even letting anyone know it much less in doing the prep work I should do for that, too. But I’m not concerned.
While I bend toward the philosophical in usual circumstances, I find myself bending lower and deeper into it right now. Those who need the book will find the book. Those interested will encounter. What needs to be done will get done and when it does will be soon enough.
I’m healing. Not healed. And I’m feeling less than creative. Does that give me a pass to not create? Normally, I’d say no, it doesn’t. You do what common sense and medical advisors recommend, accept your limitations, and do what you can. But today I’m at odds and need more. A pass to not create? No. But a license to postpone creating. That is acceptable.
When we sit down to create and we have nothing to say, we need that postponement.
When we sit down to create and feel so raunchy we just want to get through it and be done, we need to postpone.
When we create and have zero patience and knock-off every character who crosses us the minute they cross us, we need to postpone.
For the work and for us.
So I’ve learned yet another lesson. She who wrote an entire novel in the hospital has discovered sometimes it’s okay to be less than creative and to just not be creative. There’s plenty to do without inflicting my challenges onto the work.
It’s not procrastination. It’s not avoidance. It’s not lazy. It’s just a need for a little time to gain some strength, some perspective, some balance.
And so if you’re feeling less than creative, and it’s not any of the avoidance tactics we must nix through discipline, and you have a need to be less than creative for a bit, here’s your license.
Yes, the work will be waiting. No, no good fairy will jump in and do it for you. Yes, you’ll be off-schedule and further behind. But you won’t kill off all your characters in chapter one and destroy the story you’ve been planning for months. Surely that counts for something, because whatever is making you feel less than creative shall pass.
It’s not a lifetime license, it’s a required time license, and when you’ve been less than creative for a time, your writer genes will rest and then rise up, ready to get with the program. The important thing is that when they do, you’re ready, too.