As artists, writers and creatives—how do we cradle ourselves, nurturing the inner self, in the aftermath of intense creative work? Last week was filled with assignments and deadlines. There was no time to pause, consider, or nurture myself between projects. The bonus to intense creativity is the way it forces out the best work from within. There is no time for holding back in the face of such creative demand.
After sitting through a writing workshop yesterday, where my short story was the focus of feedback, suggestion and editorial scrutiny, I felt drained of energy. I held the space, and didn’t allow myself to feel hurt by the commentary, but rather viewed the feedback through an academic lens. If commentary from my fellow classmates resonated as authentic I made notations on my paper. If the feedback missed the mark, I allowed it to go in one ear and out the other. I was grateful that two people in the workshop really got the energy, tone and theme of my work, and that alone was gratifying.
But saying this doesn’t change that every ounce of energy was put into creating, and I didn’t leave room for nurturing the creator. This morning I came up with the analogy of “creative wipeout.” While creating, I was immersed in the deep waters of creation, riding along the ebb and flow. In the end I felt washed up, thrown on the sand in a crash of creative wipeout.
There may be no way to avoid the crash that occurs after the creative process. But, it is important to note that the letdown is a part of the process, and we can catch ourselves before we fall. Taking time to cradle myself after long periods of creative output has helped me recover with renewed energy for further creation. Nurturing, or cradling the inner self, is open to interpretation. Yesterday, for me it meant lying in bed drinking my favorite beer, and watching a comedy show that makes me laugh out loud. Sometimes it means immersing in quiet, drawing a hot bath or enjoying yoga. However you define what it means to nurture yourself, make it a part of your creative process. Knowing that creative wipeout is likely to happen also means you can plan ways to cushion the fall.
Artist, Writer, Wayshower
Gordon Hays Artwork
The Good Life with Gordon