In the past, I’ve talked about charging your creative batteries. I’ve also talked about how to fight writer’s block. One of the biggest pieces of advice I offer in both articles is to set a time and space to create. Well, if I’ve learned anything during this time of isolation, it’s that the space and time we set to be creative can and will be interrupted and uprooted. For me, the coffee shops I use as my creative space are not an option right now. Sadly, these coffee shops might never be an option again as a lot of small businesses will tot survive. This means I need to find a new space and a new time to write. I need to reset my creative parameters, or else I will not be writing at all!
The causes of interruptions in our creative space and time.
Several factors can and will cause an interruption in your creative space and time. Again, the coffee shops are shuttered right now. This presents a major struggle for me as I dedicate almost every Friday and Saturday night to writing at a coffee shop. That was the time and place I wrote. However, this time and space were already in jeopardy. I like to write late at night, and more and more coffee shops closed their doors by 10 PM, or even earlier. As I said, I don’t know if any of these coffee shops will be open after the COVID-19 crisis ends, but so many were already struggling. Within the last six months, some of my favorite places adjusted their hours or even shut down altogether. So it’s clear that relying on a specific place, or even time, as my writing spot is probably not a good idea.
Now, with everything closed, my new writing space is the dining room table. That also creates some difficulties. The seating isn’t as good as it could be, I live with people trying to get around me, or outright interrupting me. Of course, writing at home also means there are distractions from a lack of self discipline.
Add to the mix, I took a temporary job, and my schedule from one week to another differs. While I’m happy to be working, my writing has suffered. I no longer can say I will write on one or two specific days each week.
Changing schedules, people, and even a lack of location can and will interrupt our creative space and time.
Creative Time and Space is a Variable
While my normal routine has been blown to smithereens, the basic advice of making time and space for my writing is still applicable. I literally had to force myself to get something out on AudioPerfecta this week! Right now, I’m writing while on shift (it’s slow, so thankfully I can do this). I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the best advice I ever got about writing was “glue your butt to a chair and write!” At times, that’s more challenging. But finding that time is important to writing and creating.
Don’t be afraid to take a break
On my temp job, breaks are mandatory. They want us to detach from the stress of our work lives, so we can better focus after we come back from our break. On my old job at the television station, we were provided two weeks of vacation a year. That meant a time to recharge our batteries, so we could be rested. Folks, this is what employers provide because they know we humans need to rest and recharge. We creative types should take a page from a normal employer’s book and take breaks. Even in our own passions, we need to make sure to take breaks or we will burn out.
This is the first article published on aaronjedwards.com since February. I had one lined up for March, but it just wasn’t coming together, and I was not in a proper headspace to write at that moment. I decided, for the first time since January of 2018, to skip a month. Why? I needed a break. Likewise, on audioperfecta.com, I took two weeks off writing a featured article. I have not done this ever! The only time I skip a week on AudioPercta is when I’m really sick. But I needed the break! What I had lined up was crap because I didn’t have the creative energy. I needed to rest and recharge my batteries.
Exploring while breaking
To say I quit being creative at all during the months of March and April would be a lie. In fact, I was very creative. Several times a week, I go for a walk. On these walks, I bring my camera and take some shots. I’ve taken a lot of great shots of things I normally pass by every single day. I’ve taken great photos of flowers, a lot of street art, and a lot of simply interesting things on my walks. But the most interesting shots I’ve taken, have been of something I like to call “Sticker Graffiti.” Sticker graffiti is, well, stickers on signs and other public structures. I even started an Instagram called @sticker_graffiti to showcase some of my favorite shots.
So, while I might not be writing a lot, I have certainly been creative. This has brought me a new wave of creative energy, which has energized my writing when I do sit down at my laptop.
After resting, get back to work!
The very reason I’m writing this article is that I know I need to write something for April. I chose a softball topic for certain, and I don’t expect this article to go far. Still, I had to write something – anything! On audioperfecta.com, I knew I had to publish something this week, despite taking two weeks off. So this morning, a Retro Music Review on U2’s The Joshua Tree was published. Again, It was a softball article – it’s really easy for me to write about U2 as they are one of my favorite bands, but I had to get into the swing of things. I felt myself letting go, and that’s not something I want to do.
I have a third website, fictionalpdx.com, and I haven’t written anything for that website since December. I’m, in all honesty, not sure when I will write for that website again. I’ve lost my momentum, and have decided to step away. The mistake I made, however, I did not set a specific time limit for this break. So, here we are, the end of April, and nothing has been published in four months. Will May, or maybe June see something there? Perhaps, but that’s half a year without any new content. That’s not a good thing.
Creating is hard work. It might not be hard physically, but it’s hard emotionally and mentally. It’s easy to give up when something is hard, but that just means we have to power through and shove our noses to the grindstones. These are our passions, and sometimes pursuing our passions is aggravating and tedious. Again, take a break if you need to, but make sure to reset your creative parameters to match your schedule and environment. It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to get creating again.