Last week was all about momentum…
… or the loss of it. I’ve recently come to realise just how strong a force it is when it comes to creative activities and how often I’ve used it in the past.
When my youngest son was a baby I wrote prolifically. I blogged lots, wrote masses of poetry and flash fiction and made significant headway into a novel (or two). And all while looking after a baby and two young kids on very little sleep! I don’t manage remotely this much now and have often looked back and thought, ‘how did I do it?!’
I’ve now realised that, while I do think I managed to harness the positives of sleep-deprivation (I’m sorry, did I just type ‘positives of sleep deprivation’?! Yes, it appears I did.) and I also think that motherhood third time round gave me some sort of creative surge, in large part my creativity was down to momentum. I was determined to write while I had the chance, so I did. And because I kept on doing it, I kept on doing it.
I’ve noticed that pattern occurring again over the last few months with my drawing. Until last week I drew a complete picture/illustration almost every day for weeks on end and posted it on Twitter for #ShapeChallenge. Of course this was partially the thrill of a new love affair (with drawing!) but also my old friend momentum lent a huge helping hand.
Then last week the pendulum stopped swinging. I think it had been slowing the week before so the full stop was inevitable but last week, there was too much other stuff going on and *boom* or rather, *muffled squelch* it came to a halt. I wrote a blog post on Monday for #WhatImWriting but that was it for the week. I drew a rather rubbish picture of a disco penguin on Tuesday but similarly, that was all.
Yesterday (Sunday) I forced myself to draw something, and worryingly (for me in that moment) I seemed to have forgotten how to draw altogether. Where a week ago I would have placed pen to paper with reasonable confidence, I couldn’t seem to muster it. I drew a line, rubbed it out, drew, erased it, tried again, scrumpled the paper up. I nearly gave up altogether (especially when my sons’ happy game in the garden while I was doing this descended into tears and mud bombs) but didn’t. I sorted out the tears and the mud and got back to it.
To be honest, for the most part I didn’t enjoy it – the self doubt demon was rubbing his hands in glee and producing the most hideous of ‘haha you can’t draw’ stenches – but I figured I had to keep going. In the end, there was this:
I’m sharing here it because I don’t like it very much, and I’ve learned that putting my work out there is just as – no, even more – important when I don’t like it as when I do. It gets me to stop being precious about it. It’s like flicking that self doubt demon the Vs while simultaneously kicking him in the nuts – “Think it’s rubbish? Haha I’m going to share it anyway!”. I’m not sure how this psychology works but it seems to!
After that, yesterday evening I wrote a blog post about my week. It was really just an attempt to set the writing pendulum swinging again too which I guess it sort of has since I’m writing this!
Now I just need to keep on going. Hopefully I can pick up some momentum sometime soon. If someone could give me a shove that would be great.