I have found myself struggling lately. Stress, anxiety, all the “shoulda, woulda, coulda, gottas”. I’ve also found myself wanting, no… truly craving to get into a creative flow state. The more I thought about this desire, the more I found myself finding opportunities to think about it, from the fluid dynamics of air from a semi pulling past on the interstate to remembering how much I loved playing with the meltwater of snow in the spring.
Flow state hasn’t been easy for me to achieve of late, particularly when it comes to creative outlets. I’ve written to a friend that I have these epically long To Do Lists that just keep growing and I find that even when I put forms of creativity onto my list, I ignore them due to inability to focus. I WANT to write and draw, stitch and sew, knit and crochet, but I practically squirm with discomfort when it comes to actually doing those things.
For someone who in the past has been able to be utterly absorbed in creative outlets, tip of my tongue poked out in concentration and, hours later, a severe neck or hand cramp, this push and pull of creativity leaves me at a loss. The unhelpful advice, in my opinion, so many in the writing community say is, “Just write.” And, that advice may work for some people but I do not appear to be one of them.
In a way, it’s much like sitting on a beach and watching the waves as the tide goes out. The creativity keeps teasing, crashing like a wave on the shoreline, but it keeps getting farther away. I see it. It’s there and active and interesting, mesmerizing really, but it’s still pulling away from me.
Even sitting down to type these thoughts out is a bit of a struggle. My mental capacity after spending days at work being emotionally reassuring to others, and days at home being emotionally reassuring to myself as I work through assignments for school. We have political upheaval, a pandemic, and resurgence of hate groups. I can tell that I’m overwhelmed and burned out.
Funnily enough, the things that help stop the singe of burn out fall into creative outlets, at least for me. But here I am, sitting on the beach watching them get farther away on the tide.
At least we know that the tide always comes back in. With it, creativity will come, too.
How have you been doing the last couple years?
Have you, too, struggled with overwhelm and burn out?
The Amusing Muse is a writer, cat wrangler, and student staring down the barrel of graduation come the end of the year. When she’s not being an emotional cheerleader at her day job, she studies and does a variety of odd jobs to bring in a bit more tuition money. She and her husband have hiked over 135 miles so far this year.
Title image clip art courtesy of Clipart-Library.com