|"Passion Flower" by Deepa Photography. Used with permission.|
One of the important things I took from walking through The Artist's Way book (see "Reading" link above) was the fact that our creativity is a living thing. And that living thing deserves and needs to be taken care of. Protected, not neglected.
I tried my hand at gardening last Spring, and pretty quickly realized that tending to so many plants is quite a commitment. We only had two 4x4 raised garden beds, so I figured I'd better pack in the plants to get the highest yield. I didn't honor the fact that each plant actually needs its own significant space in order to receive its nutrients from the ground. Also, I didn't exactly give the necessary time to pulling weeds, pruning the plants, and watering that I should have. Some plants did fairly well, but the overall result of the garden was a tangled mess of half-grown vegetables.
Toward the end of this past year, I felt the same thing that the garden bed must have felt in August. With the good intention of being as productive as possible, I packed my schedule full and put my creative well-being in the passenger seat. My hope is that the quality of the songs didn't suffer, though that usually is the direct result.
One of the great things as we write more songs is that we learn how to read ourselves better. I know what it feels like to be creatively drained, and I know how pointless it is to try and push myself to write just one more song. Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is stop. When we give ourselves the space to breath, freedom again shows up, along with the joy of creating.
Keep writing (or take a break),