Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finding Your Creative Space

Post by Kerrie

Over the past month, a few amazing things have happened which have impacted my writing life and allowed me to find my creative space again.

In the latter part of the summer until early fall, I found it difficult to do any writing that wasn't related to Northern Colorado Writers. People would ask what I was writing and I would say, "website content and emails." No, they would say, YOUR writing. I'd pause and confess, "Nothing. I haven't written anything of my own."

As the director of a writing organization, this is a hard thing to admit. Here I am offering suggestions to other writers about their writing and how to organize their lives to fit it in and I can't even do it myself. My problem was all in my head--literally. Thoughts of work, ideas, family issues, finances, all whirled around in my head like a tornado spinning out of control and I couldn't figure out how to stop it.

At the end of the summer, I took two weeks off from work hoping that would help, but all that did was move the location of all the stress. I still had access to my computer, I still read emails everyday and the F4 twister in my head showed no signs of downgrading to anywhere near an F1.

So, when my friend, also one of my daughter's high school teacher's, asked if I would help chaperone a week long school fly-fishing adventure trip with 21 high-school students, I was hesitant. First off all, I don't know how to fly fish and second, how could I possibly leave with all that I felt I had going on? With some coaxing and my insistence on being in charge of the food and cooking, he convinced me to go. (you can read all about that trip here)

Being away from my computer, phone and anything else feeding the tornado,caused it to lose its momentum. Add the fresh air, hours by the river and beautiful scenery and clarity soon followed. I was soon able to "see" just how cluttered my creative space had become and it was no wonder I couldn't do any writing. I started reorganizing everything in my head and was able to clear out a small space to do a little journaling. (its all about baby steps)

Upon our return home, the twister started again, but with less "junk" in there it wasn't quite as strong as before, but it was still there, impeding on my creative space. The good news is I got enough clarity to see what I needed to do.

With the encouragement of some friends, I decreased the NCW studio hours by 2 hours a day and made a plan to take one day a week off in order to open up some time for me to write. Lastly, I needed to schedule times away from my computer (ideally outside). This is where the fly fishing comes back in. I finally went for the first time where I actually got to fish and I fell in love with it. I can absolutely see this being new favorite down time activity away from my computer. At the end of that day fishing, my mind was effectively cleared, allowing even more creative space to open up.

Because of all that, I have been able to start writing again. The last two mornings I got up around 5:45am to write in my journal. Both days I was able to crank out 8 pages and it felt great. Tomorrow I plan to do the same thing.

Then to top it all off, I am going fishing!

What is the condition of your
internal creative space?



Jenny said...

This is such a great post, Kerrie.

My internal space is thankfully not an F4 but does feel rather stretched in all directions.

It's so important to find an activity that makes us feel calm and centered. Even if it is laundry :-)

John Paul McKinney said...

Kerrie, I'm really happy you can find time for your own writing because your doing so inspires the rest of us. My own space needs more discipline. The time is there if I would just use it more wisely. Thanks for the post.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Having an F4 experience go on very long is not good for your physical or mental health, that's for sure. I'm glad you've found a way to overcome that turmoil.

Dean K Miller said...

An interesting question posed here. While I've tabled a couple of things in my life, I've also opened up both my creative space and my down time space to include others who show an interest in going there.

So far it's been a positive experience. Although breaking the solitary mode takes a bit to get used to, it also helps me appreciate the times I am able to be alone.

See you on the River!

Kerrie said...

Jenny, it is important to find an activity and believe it or not, hanging laundry outside on a clothesline is a quick fix for me (because I am outside and I love the smell of clean laundry).

JP, I understand. Sometimes having more time is harder.

Pat, No it is not good, so I am working on it.

Dean, I am sure those who you've allowed into your creative and down time space appreciate you allowing them "in" but hopefully you are able to balance that with the quiet time you need. Yep, I will see you on the river.

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