When Tara asked me to write a column about my creative life, i really wondered if i’d have enough material. But as the column has moved week to week, i’ve realized that all i need to do each time i sit to write is take a quiet moment and assess how i’ve spent my days. It’s a truthful column. It’s an insight into how i live. It’s not meant to be a craft tutorial or a log of my projects, but an honest insight into ways i try to inject creative thinking into my world.
So this week, while i could post about a project here or commission there, i’d rather post about the one thing that stands out as being most integral to my creativity these past 2 weeks. And that has been a brief vacation from it.
Yep. I spent the last 4 days at the beach with my 2 favorite boys to close out the summer. It had to be done. The little one was having sand and surf withdrawal!
i wanted to be responsible to my clients who have works in progress, so i planned to take along my sketchbook, a to-do list, and even some collage materials to finish up one order. i rationalized that there’d be plenty of downtime while my 4 year old was sleeping and that sketching and crafting in the quiet of the beach house would be soothing.
But guess what? i forgot the art bag. The bag i had very carefully packed with all that i’d need to come back on top of all my current projects.
i couldn’t believe it. But it turned out to be a gift.
With nothing to do but relax, read magazines, play with my son and chat with my husband, i actually was able to re-charge my batteries. i actually never really believed that would be possible for my anxious-to-please, type-a, no-rest-for-the-weary self. It took some major getting used to. i forced myself to dream up leisure opportunities and fun outings we could do as a family that in no way involved getting back in time for me to complete a project, return a phone call or mail a package. (Ok, i’ll admit we were a little crafty one day when we went and painted some pottery together….sue me!) But it felt a little like i was re-wiring my brain!
i think that what so many of us experience as we work vigorously to achieve, achieve, achieve… is burnout. We play cruise director in our households while trying to be solid businesswomen and true artists with singular creative vision. It’s a tall order. i know i feel guilty every single night if i don’t come straight down to my workspace after tucking in my son, so that i can get in 4-6 more hours of work. If an etsy order hasn’t gone out the same day or following day it was placed, it starts to loom over my head like a black cloud. That’s all on top of the regular “day job” and commissions which pile up as well. i know so many of SGs readers know this feeling.
My mom has said to me, that the times when you feel most behind the 8-ball are the times when you MOST need to take a break. It seems counter-intuitive, but boy did it feel good!
It gave me a little perspective as well.
i am not so important that the world won’t survive a few days without me.
In fact, in all likelihood, most folks won’t even know i was gone. That’s a pretty good reality check. i think i should take more mini-vacations to test the theory!?
So now i’m back at my computer after 4 days of hiatus. (where i SWEAR, i only opened my laptop a few times and resisted any urge to respond to work emails til i was “officially” back from vacation!) And i could say that i feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the world tomorrow, but, you know, that would be a little bit of a stretch. i certainly feel calmer, and truly happy with the reconnection made to my family. But tomorrow will be another day as cruise director and there are a lot of deadlines looming!
What i CAN say is that these challenges seem much more acceptable since i’ve tasted a little bit of the reward. And i’m pretty confident in guessing that my “vacation from creativity” is sure to amp up my work in the days ahead as well.