Creative exhaustion + juggling

I’m currently sat outside in the sunshine in what is the hottest day of the year so far here in England, and in London where I am. (My car temperature gauge measured 28.5ºC!). Yet it was snowing just a couple of weeks ago. Strange times that we’re living in. Btw – you know it’ s hot when your iPhone stops playing YouTube suddenly, with an alert saying “Your iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it again”.

In last week’s post I shared my publishing ambitions, and how attending London Book Fair had only helped to re-affirm this. For those 3 days last week, Tuesday to Thursday, energy management was crucial, especially as I was out till late evening on two of those nights – and it takes anything from 7-90mins to get back home form ‘town’. Friday came as a welcome relief, before I went to an Indian wedding on Saturday, and then went to Church on Sunday evening and hung out afterwards. Monday I had a meeting with one of the panellists from LBF that I’d emailed, and then had a Sikh event in the evening which, again, saw me get back late.

When I’m away in London, I can forget about things like hydrating and nourishing myself, and I think the accumulation of busy days/evenings led to my feeling tired and under the weather when I got back late on Monday night. I then did the exact opposite of the sensible thing, and ended up staying up through the night; I wish I could say I was being productive – in short, I’ve had a long-standing issue when it comes to ‘being’ online – it certainly has been a release/crux of sorts when I’m particularly over-stimulated/tired/have lots of things going on; it’s something I’m working through in therapy).

creativ exhaustion.jpg
credit: geralt

In other words, I’ve had a fair bit going on and the priority to gain experience in publishing still remains, having had over a year off and the whole ‘job thing’ being a personal pain point of mine for so long. With my being so busy and active of late, the exhaustion also equates to creative exhaustion. Yesterday, as I sat in bed before going to sleep, I got down to writing just a couple of pages – the first story pages I’d written in a few days.

I’m trying to be kind to myself and, whereas before I was just wanting to get this book finished and out in the world asap, I’m now content with going at a slower pace. The key thing for me is keeping going, even if only gradually. Though I would still really like to maintain momentum and write at least a couple of days a week for, say, 30 minutes to an hour, I’m also conscious that – when I am working full-time – it will be more challenging to manage my (creative) energy with the job (and 3 blogs!); at this stage, I’m just trying not to worry about the future and take it as it comes.

Originally intended as a short story, it has now well and truly become a novella and is on it’s way to becoming a novel. I think I’ll even feel a little disappointed if it ends of falling short of the 50,000 words “novel mark”!

As I’ve previously talked about on this blog, some heavy editing will be needed – and I may also be weaving more into the plot to add some complexity and multi-dimensionality. I know I’m going to have to keep an eye on the pesky perfectionist in me, and I’ll do well to embrace the “don’t think, just do!” mentality I’ve been trying to adopt of late.

Another challenge for me is reigning myself in, and not getting carried away with so many creative projects – e.g. poetry and acting. These are two things which, as a curious and increasingly expressive/creative guy, I’m intrigued about. I actually released my very-amateurish first self-narrated poem to the world just yesterday on Twitter. It’s definitely the closest I’ve felt to being Eminem, I must say.

Like my journalling, poetry is just an amazing outlet for me to express my innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions from my core. Writing is definitely the medium through which I feel most comfortable and effective when it comes to expressing myself. I’m not much of a talker or a sharer when it comes to ‘my stuff’ – therapy and writing are filling that void for me right now. (Psst – that said, I have recently been quoted in a couple of articles about my mental health – this one is the most recent, published just today: 19 men share what it’s like to take anti-depressants). It feels like this week’s post is, apart from being a rambling one, as much of a reminder to myself than anything else. A reminder of that fact that life has priorities, and whilst these exist my energy is a limited resource. that I am only human, and best when I focus my efforts on just 1 or 2 projects, rather than a whole bunch. That with writing a story, maintaining 3 blogs, and focusing on a job search that is now in full swing – plus various extra-curricula activities I’m now involving myself in (some publishing-/book-related, some religious-related), as well as trying to consciously cultivate closer friendships…. I will need to be EXTRA-kind to myself over the coming days and weeks!

I hope that you, too, are kind to yourself when it comes to your writing and your life as a whole – and remember to love yourself and respect yourself in the same way that you probably do with others, rather than hold yourself to ridiculously high and punishing standards. #guiltyascharged

Right, I’m off to start my ’10 minutes of story’ on my list for today…

Have a lovely weekend folks ✨☀️

PS. Do check out my 1st recorded poem if you get a chance, on Soundcloud
& the ‘The Metro’ men’s mental health articles I contributed to can be found here and here

✏ Written: Thursday, 12th April @ 2.31pm

A.B. Guy | articles | newsletter 💌

What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
What ‘creative projects’ are you working on, at the moment? And – how good are you when it comes to being kind to yourself, and/or prioritising as needed? 💙

 

If Napoleon Dynamite was a writer…

So, this week I have done precisely zero work on my novella. Ze-ro. Zilch. Nada. And after 3 straight weeks of decent momentum.

Uuuuuuuuuuuugggghhhhhhhhh.

Gosh, it feels pretty shi*tty writing that down, and then typing it up as I am doing right now. I’m thinking of the beep…beep…beep of the heart-rate monitor, before that long beeeeeeeep at the end to indicate something is wrong.

napoleon dynamite
clker-free-vector-images

Ah man. Annoying. Here’s my trying to break down what happened here:

The previous week was tricky
Last week, I wrote how I had to force myself to write after the novelty of the story had worn off, and it was starting to feel that I was writing just for the sake of writing, and keep the word-count ticking along. This, of course, has it’s benefits – pen-to-paper is the hardest thing, after all! But I’d certainly lost noticeable enthusiasm for writing my short-story-cum-novella.

Meaty chapters lie ahead
I’m over the half-way mark in the story, and from here on in every chapter feels pretty significant. And chunky. Throughout the story we find out more about Joel, the main character, and I have a pretty decent outline of the way things are going to go, and so what I need to write about / let unfold from now. Last week, the last chapter/chunk I wrote had been a pretty tedious one to get through, and it feels the same – if not ore tedious – for the next part. Oh man.

My job search
Having taken a year off last year, I’ve been figuring out what to ‘do’ work-wise. With that has come the anxiety from not having worked in a while and going back to work, as well as choosing ‘the right thing’. At this point in time, I actually feel like I have a semblance of a plan as to what to do. Accordingly, I’ve been making calls, sending emails and even going into places and chatting/dropping my CV off. With a job search, it’s not just the physical time one spends actually applying/looking for jobs, but the actual mental energy the whole thing takes up.

Family/friends
Last weekend, it was just me and bro at home as my parents were away. I spend time chilling with him, and we went out with our cousin and uncle one evening. I also was out with a friend one evening last week. In other words, I did more socialising that I normally would, and so I felt more tired from this / socially-stimulated than usual. (I also had another evening out cancelled, and turned down yet another).

But…
At the end of the day, at any point – I had ample time – I could have just sat down and written. Just like I did last week, when I also hadn’t felt completely overjoyed at doing so. This is another example of how something can start with just missing a day or two, and then all of a sudden turning into a few days of doing nothing. As stupid as it is, once I’d realised I only had a couple of days left to ‘catch up’ and maintain the sort of pace I had been thus far, it felt like I pretty much gave up.

I woke up today intending to write. I didn’t. Truth be told, I did some job-searching stuff, and spent time procrastinating. I’m soon off to the gym, and going to a birthday party tonight. (What’s worse is that the “wig” I’ve ordered for this wig-party was supposed to arrive by today, and it still says it’s going to get here before 8pm, and there’s still no sign of it! Karma, maybe).

I won’t lie, sometimes you can have “too much time’ on your hands, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. And right now, I think it’ll do my good once the whole work-situation is more stable and I can relax about that a little.

But this week’s stats sure don’t make great viewing:

Where I’m currently at
Week 1: 21 pages (A5)
Week 2: 27.5 pages (A5)
Week 3: 21 pages (A5)
Week 4: 0 pages (#fml)

*still* ~15k words written

On a positive note
I have still been writing every day. I continue to journal, write blog posts and I even published my first poem on Sunday. So hey, not all bad. But I have to admit, it feels like little consolation. It’s been a week of thinking over doing, which is a pattern I definitely want to keep at bay.

For the Easter break, I’m away with my family for a couple of those days which I’m looking forward to. However, it’s a four-day weekend and I really want it to feel productive. Even if it’s just a few minutes here and there, I want to get back into the creative writing swing and carry on where I left off with the novella. I need to think of it as “little bit by bit” rather than big, whole, scary important chapter.

And hopefully that darn Napoleon Dynamite wig (+ accompanying ‘Vote for Pedro t-shirt) will arrive in the next couple of hours before I leave tonight.

🤞🏽

PS. In case you haven’t seen Napoleon Dynamite (you totally need to), or if you have, here’s a short clip from the movie which feels pretty apt right now.

✏ Written: Thursday, 28th March 2018 @ 5.03pm

A.B. Guy | articles | newsletter 💌

What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
How’s your week been? Has it felt like a good one, or a less-than-ideal one? (Be honest, I can handle it, I promise!)