Saturday, 18 July 2020

Creative seasons

Life, just as nature, has different seasons. The insistence of modern life that we should be productive all the time and grow, create and make money 365 days of the year is not in alignment with how our internal rhythm works.
Nature, the greatest teacher there is, knows that nothing can grow every day of the year. After the explosion of new life, colours, and energy in the spring, the maturing during summer, the ripening and bounty of fall, everything goes to sleep in winter to rest and restore. 

Human beings are no different from plants. We go through lots of different seasons in our lifetime: the seasons of nature, of aging, of our outside world, and our inside world.
 
Starting an ambitious project in the middle of summer with the hot weather, school's out, general laid-back attitude of lazy days and wanting to be outside might not be the best idea. 
But doing it in the fall, with the fresh energy of cooler days and back-to-school vibes will inspire us to spend more time at the desk and work on something new.  
I've been intrigued by the concept of creative seasons for a while now. Being someone who didn't allow herself to acknowledge and nurture her creative side until I was in my 30s (this post gives you an idea about my confusion at age 33: "Who am I?"), I'm still somewhat new to the different aspects of it. 

In the beginning I believed that the only way to "do it right" was by doing the hustle of getting up at the crack of dawn, working on it every day, and putting in the 10,000 hours of practice made popular by Malcolm Gladwell's wildly popular book Outliers: The story of Success. Which is daunting when you start tentatively spreading your creative baby wings at the ripe old age of 33, hate getting up at the crack of dawn, and have a job, life, and mental illness to keep up with. 
Luckily, the 10,000 hour myth has been largely debunked, and I grew up some more and gained a new, much healthier perspective.
When you express yourself creatively, the seasons you go through are similar to nature's season. In my experience they are the following:

1. Living life, making new experiences, filling up the creative gas tank. 
2. Expressing yourself: creating something new (in my case writing blog posts, articles and books).
3. Letting go: releasing your work into the world and accepting that it is now out there for the world to see. You have to emotionally let it go or it will drive you crazy.  
4. Resting: your creativity is spent for the moment. You need to rest, recharge and allow yourself to just be.     

I've read lots about that you have to show up every day or you will never achieve anything, but I only partly agree. Sure, I go to my day job every day I'm supposed to and do my work, I keep a reasonably clean house and maintain an acceptable level of grooming. But I have realized that taking breaks when I need them is showing up, in my creative life and in everyday life. 
I take a nap when I need it, I take an entire weekend off writing if I'd rather read a book or watch movies, and I don't beat myself up about it.  

Rest is an essential part of being productive. 
So is living life and experiencing new things or doing old favourites. I've mentioned it many times before, but I've had many of my best ideas during dog walks. Another element of the novel I'm working on fell into place last week after my therapy session on the drive home.
The invisible deadline I've been trying desperately to reach doesn't exist anymore. I'm playing the long game, and I stopped the clock. 

The great beauty of having a creative hobby as opposed to trying to create a business or "side hustle" (I hate that expression) is that you have time and freedom. I know that I can and will finish a project if it's important to me. But I no longer set myself arbitrary deadlines because I'm much more realistic these days with my energy levels and limits. 

The current season I'm in is one of an intense thirst for knowledge. I read 2-3 books a week, follow politics more closely than ever before, and do a lot of research on personality disorders (mostly research for my book). I also watch more movies, not just for fun but also to learn all the different ways of storytelling, and I listen to audiobooks daily. Everything to do with the art of bringing stories alive is endlessly fascinating to me!
Another fun little change is that I'm wearing again all my clothes! After nearly 3 years of wearing mostly jeans and boots (I got Merritt-ed), I'm wearing again my dresses, skirts and frilly tops! It feels so good. Does it mean that I'm slightly overdressed everywhere I go? You bet it does. But who cares? My clothes make me so happy! 
Expect regular updates on Instagram if you're into that sort of thing 😁

Take it easy, be kind to yourself and others, and honour the seasons of your life!


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2 comments

  1. I love this concept! How inspiring!

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    Replies
    1. It might just save your sanity one of these days!

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