I’m going to go right out and admit that I’ve been severely struggling to write as of late. Although, as mentioned here, I’ve been incredibly busy, which certainly hasn’t helped with giving me the opportunity to sit back and create, there have been more than enough times where I’ve had the bandwidth, opened the word processor, and then decided to see what’s going on with Facebook or picked up the controller to play some video games instead.
Even further than that, I’ve cleared my schedule more than a few times for the distinct purpose of writing and decided, instead, to go take care of some house chores.
Part of this is simply because I’ve fallen out of my schedule. When I was writing regularly, it was just a part of my routine. I would sit down, plop down a thousand words or so, and then go about whatever else I had planned for the day. I barely even thought about it when I sat down to do it. Now, after being out of the routine for a couple years, there’s this anxiety tied to it. This idea that no matter what I do, it’s just not worth it. That the effort placed in creating just doesn’t matter.
Coincidentally, I’ve known for a while that writing is my non-medicinal cure for my depression, and I’ve struggled more with my mild mental illness since I’ve fallen out of the routine than I have in years, most notably last December, which led to me pouring my heart out on here about the disease.
While I’ve been struggling with trying to get back into my creative mindset, my daughter has been asking me regularly about when I will finish work on my young reader book Chippewa Chao, a book which she is incredibly gung ho about producing some artwork for. And I often respond by muttering about how I just need to finish the first draft of the final book in The Agora Files series and it’s next on my plate. She takes it in stride, but every time I reply with that, I feel terrible.
Last night, during my pre-sleep reading, I happened to be reading a graphic novel which actually approached the subject of creativity vs. doubt. If you must know, it’s an incredibly nerdy reading choice which you can pick up here. The story within was about the Dreamfinder, who holds the power of imagination, but found himself infected with doubt, which infected all those around him who had been long inspired by him. Suddenly, this world they lived in was filled with these zombie-like creatures who just went about their days completely unable to even talk.
Yeah, I know, my description of the story doesn’t exactly make it sound like solid adult-level reading. And yes, on the surface, it’s fairly juvenile. But under it all, it really spoke to me. It spoke to the exact battle I was facing with my own creativity. I was battling doubts about my own creativity, about whether or not it mattered, about whether or not it was worth the effort. And although the message of “whether or not this idea works, it’s the path that’s worth it” definitely spoke to me, it was the final pages which really broke me down a bit.
You see, The Dreamfinder was saved by his great-great-great grand niece (or something like that, due to imagination’s ability to travel through time). And when he offered his thanks, she turned it on him and stated how the only reason she was able to fight this battle was due to the inspiration she had provided for him. How his work had led her to be the creative force she was in this story.
If you’re not already making the connection back to earlier where I talked about my daughter asking me about my writing process, well, consider this your dot connecting statement.
You see, what originally pushed me to actually get off my butt and do something about this creative energy I’ve always felt inside of myself was the impending birth of my daughter. I looked at my daily life, at my career, and I couldn’t help but think there was nothing there I could show my kids and feel proud about. Look, Little-Oster, I made this amazing report to showcase FTE savings! And I had always wanted to write. At that point in my life, I had produced two movies which, due to my personal level of creative prowess, were not something I was proud of. I had dropped all ideas of ever doing anything creative again. I had gone from looking into film schools to relegating myself to a desk job. I had even turned down a possibly long term and paying acting gig (something of which at the time was my dream) to pursue something more…safe.
But my daughter (not discounting my other two children whom I also wish to inspire to chase their dreams), she was the spark which put me back into motion.
And reading this book (which I’ll admit I thoroughly enjoyed) put me right back into that same mindset.
Which put me in front of my computer this morning, cup of coffee in hand, anxious as hell about trying to get something creative out.
But I’m going to do it. It’s happening. Not because I hope it will make money someday, not because it serves as a form of therapy for myself, but because I’ve spent far too long just sitting on my hands, and not nearly enough time thinking about how I can inspire my own children to do more.
And also, just a little bit, because I really need to finish Agora Files 3 so people will stop asking me when it’s coming out.