Creativity and momentum

Last week was all about momentum…

momentum waves

… 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:iphone distraction

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.

Writing Bubble

11 thoughts on “Creativity and momentum

  1. Nicola Young

    Don’t be hard on yourself. You’ve been doing so well, both blogging and drawing. Well done for posting something you admit to not liking. I think it’s funny, for what it’s worth, but I know that’s not the point. We all have these lulls don’t we? But you’re right to keep going the way you are and you are sure to get back into it again. Life is so different now to when the children were babies and didn’t do much more than eat, sleep and poop. They’re demanding and they zap all our energy. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.
    Nicola Young recently posted…A weekend ski trip in BulgariaMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Nicola, yes you’re very right about the energy zapping! Although it’s easier now at least they all sleep, their needs are more complicated as they get older so parenting is tiring in a different way! We just have to squeeze creativity in where we can don’t we? xx
      Maddy recently posted…the ups and downs of the week that wasMy Profile

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  2. Sara | mumturnedmom

    Ah, the self-doubt demon, been feeling that myself this week! I think it’s wonderful that you shared you picture anyway (and I’m with Nicola, I think it’s funny!), and I’m glad that writing something on Sunday spurred you on today. I’ve started doing a ‘reflection on my week’ post on a Monday as it seems to help get me back into writing after the weekend :)
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…On Writing and purposeMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      A ‘reflection on the week’ post sounds like a good idea, Sara! Sometimes you just need something to write about to set the wheels back in motion. I really like your Sunday Showcase too (and that was the case even before you featured my blog – thanks for that though, much appreciated!) xx
      Maddy recently posted…the ups and downs of the week that wasMy Profile

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  3. Sophie Lovett

    This picture really made me giggle (a little too close to home perhaps… “Mummy put down your phone and plaaaaay!!!”) so thank you for sharing :) On a serious note, I TOTALLY get what you mean by the momentum thing. There are some weeks when the writing just seems to happen, and because it does it happens more, and there are other weeks when it’s hard to put a finger on why but it all as you say just grinds to a halt… It’s all (pendulum) swings and roundabouts though, right? I’m sure you’ll get your momentum back before you know it xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…On first drafts and freedomMy Profile

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  4. Carol Cameleon

    Like Sophie, this pic sums up a moment in our household just this afternoon. Our little girl pointed at daddy’s phone, pointed back at the dvd playing (thanks to Storm Katie – actually, yes thank you Storm Katie, it was lovely to be snuggly inside!) but I digress… it’s a fab drawing Maddy. And as parents I think we go through the frustration/self-doubt more than other creative people because we lose that momentum so easily… I’ll likely lose mine over the Easter break. C’est la vie I suppose, to a degree anyway! Thanks for hosting #whatimwriting and apologies for the late read!
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…Set that goal ~ Positive ThinkingMy Profile

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