There is a feeling creatives gets when ideas flow freely and pieces fall into place with little to no effort. It’s a wonderful feeling. I very nearly forgot it existed.
Full Disclosure: I pushed myself too hard and stressed slapped me down. My depression and anxiety limits me and I hate it. Don’t think that I’m always doom and gloom, even if I do identify with Eeyore. I am capable of happiness. But, I can only deal with limited responsibilities, goals, etc. When things pile up, I stress. When I stress, I shut down.Here is the whining part: For a time, I was trying to expand The Widows of Wyatt Abney to increase word count. At the same time I was trying to compile character sketches for my next novel, plot and write three more short stories in a series that started with Fool’s Journey, write poetry, submit poetry to markets on a weekly basis, write blog posts on a weekly basis and keep my idea file from stagnating. That’s just the writing side of my life and doesn’t take into account my appetite for reading which includes books I’ve promised to review.
One of the ways I relax is to make jewelry, quill and craft home decor. These outlets became stress-filled. I also research genealogy, but began to feel it was taking away from other things. Depressing. Then I have to take into account that I care for three dogs and two cats, keep our home and yard from looking like a hoarders hovel and be ever watchful of my mother who turned 71 in March. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been having some health issues that include pain other than migraines (speaking of migraines – they’ve increased in frequency this past year). In all, I felt a heavy weight on my shoulders. I even considered abandoning writing altogether.This is where things begin to look up: After some soul-searching, I decided that The Widows of Wyatt Abney was finished. I told the story I wanted to tell and while adding a few subplots wouldn’t hurt the novel, they weren’t necessary. (I could be wrong) Several people told me to publish it as a novella. I hesitated.
A good friend gave me the name of a small publishing company and encouraged me to submit my ‘short novel’ and it felt right. I did as she suggested and am waiting for a response – though I’m not holding my breath as I wait. I also plan to submit it to one other small press.
After submitting, I turned to the next novel and ideas began to pour from me. Characters became more rounded, plot points clamored for attention and the story became clear. Relief. Blessed relief.
I realize that I am the one that placed such importance on all of the things that were crushing me. Now, it’s time to take the weight from my writing and begin enjoying it again. There’s no harm in allowing myself to research my ancestry, nor should I feel bad about taking a break from words and applying my creativity to other projects.
Doing everything at once is impossible for anyone. I need to get back to a schedule like the one I employed while writing The Widows of Wyatt Abney. Everything else will fall into place.
What about you? Does stress hamper your creativity? Have you felt that elation that comes when everything is flowing freely?