Subordinate passion

Ready to spring to life

I’ve been taking a creative break lately. Unlike Rose’s holiday break this has been a business one.

Yet I have to admit I have been more productive in the last month than in a long time. I’ve set up this blog, set up Skaian Gates English and overseen changes to house and garden too.

I’ve entered a new phase in my hybrid life as my business will lead me back to my scientific roots.  And combined with the increase in productivity since leaving creativity aside, it has me asking hard questions.

Perhaps being creative is not my natural state?

Was all the effort I put into my last stand-still project wasted?

Have I been pushing in the wrong direction?

Just as these questions come, so to does the muse, admittedly not with fiction but with an idea for non-fiction.  And then there’s the self-publishing success of a friend that leaves me green with envy. And the pang whenever I read of a young novelist breaking through. The passion is still there, though dormant.

It grows, waiting to bloom.

  • Val

    I think we all have a set path in life, so if it’s going to happen it will happen.
    Just my view.
    You sound like you’ve been very busy.

  • Val

    I think we all have a set path in life, so if it’s going to happen it will happen.
    Just my view.
    You sound like you’ve been very busy.

  • Catherine! Thank you for the mention! Although in some ways this post makes me feel a bit melancholy. I think you are an incredibly creative person, and creativity does not always come in the guise of stories and fiction, it is in how we grow, adapt and fill out our hybrid lives. I definitely think that being creative is a natural state, but maybe you need to recconect with a broader definition. You are a mother, that is the most pure creative act possible! Not to mention your writings are beautiful, both the fiction and non-fiction.

    I certainly don’t think that any effort put into any project is wasted, even if it goes nowhere. You never know when you may come back to it, possibly when the timing is better. Take my novel – I wrote it 10 years ago and only just published it this month. Everything in its own time, and especially creative things. Maybe your project needs time to fulminate while you take a break from it?

    About pushing in the wrong direction…well, it’s always good to be mindful of where we are and where we are going, where we want to be. This isn’t to put any positive or negative value, it just is what it is. Taking breaks from creativity can be so beneficial in the long run. Who knows, maybe with time you will find a new take on the project. Check out this post by my friend Kristen: http://vesperinlimbo.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/think-like-janus-to-clear-creative-blocks/.

    While I’m flattered of your envy of my “success”, I think maybe it’s a little misplaced. Now that you’ve read my book you know how personal it is, and I’ve actually been kind of freaked out now that it’s got its own feet walking around the world. Worrying what people will think of my baby, and by extension me. Wondering if people outside my circle of friends will read it and what will they think of it, not knowing anything about me. It’s been really stressful actually! Not much to envy in the Land of Sezin, my tummy has been so nervous! It’s also gotten me to thinking about the horrible traumas that inspired the book in the first place.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, please! I will always think of you as the Druid warrioress I heard in your voice, and you can conquer anything you put your mind and heart to.

  • Catherine! Thank you for the mention! Although in some ways this post makes me feel a bit melancholy. I think you are an incredibly creative person, and creativity does not always come in the guise of stories and fiction, it is in how we grow, adapt and fill out our hybrid lives. I definitely think that being creative is a natural state, but maybe you need to recconect with a broader definition. You are a mother, that is the most pure creative act possible! Not to mention your writings are beautiful, both the fiction and non-fiction.

    I certainly don’t think that any effort put into any project is wasted, even if it goes nowhere. You never know when you may come back to it, possibly when the timing is better. Take my novel – I wrote it 10 years ago and only just published it this month. Everything in its own time, and especially creative things. Maybe your project needs time to fulminate while you take a break from it?

    About pushing in the wrong direction…well, it’s always good to be mindful of where we are and where we are going, where we want to be. This isn’t to put any positive or negative value, it just is what it is. Taking breaks from creativity can be so beneficial in the long run. Who knows, maybe with time you will find a new take on the project. Check out this post by my friend Kristen: http://vesperinlimbo.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/think-like-janus-to-clear-creative-blocks/.

    While I’m flattered of your envy of my “success”, I think maybe it’s a little misplaced. Now that you’ve read my book you know how personal it is, and I’ve actually been kind of freaked out now that it’s got its own feet walking around the world. Worrying what people will think of my baby, and by extension me. Wondering if people outside my circle of friends will read it and what will they think of it, not knowing anything about me. It’s been really stressful actually! Not much to envy in the Land of Sezin, my tummy has been so nervous! It’s also gotten me to thinking about the horrible traumas that inspired the book in the first place.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, please! I will always think of you as the Druid warrioress I heard in your voice, and you can conquer anything you put your mind and heart to.

  • Geraldine

    Being creative is never a waste of time, and I firmly believe creativity, which can be expressed in so many diverse and interesting ways, is a natural and satisfying state for most people in the world.

    Have you heard of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron? It is a course/workbook which helps you discover or recover your creativity, and was initially designed to help blocked artists become unblocked. It is kind of like AA for artists- a 12 week program to discover and nurture creativity. I have owned the workbook for over a year, but had never got around to doing it, as I never felt I had the time. About 3 weeks ago I realised there will never be a good time to do it, and I started!

    I don’t consider myself an artist, but this workbook was recommended to me by someone who recognised that because of the long hours I work and my mainly work-related stress, I had been completely neglecting my artistic and creative aspects for years, and that allowing myself to nurture these again would help me regain balance in my life (and hopefully alleviate some of that stress!)

    It is online at http://www.theartistsway.com/ Have a look and we can chat more about it at the weekend…

    Good luck, and keep up all the hard work. It will be worth it.

    Geraldine xxx

  • Geraldine

    Being creative is never a waste of time, and I firmly believe creativity, which can be expressed in so many diverse and interesting ways, is a natural and satisfying state for most people in the world.

    Have you heard of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron? It is a course/workbook which helps you discover or recover your creativity, and was initially designed to help blocked artists become unblocked. It is kind of like AA for artists- a 12 week program to discover and nurture creativity. I have owned the workbook for over a year, but had never got around to doing it, as I never felt I had the time. About 3 weeks ago I realised there will never be a good time to do it, and I started!

    I don’t consider myself an artist, but this workbook was recommended to me by someone who recognised that because of the long hours I work and my mainly work-related stress, I had been completely neglecting my artistic and creative aspects for years, and that allowing myself to nurture these again would help me regain balance in my life (and hopefully alleviate some of that stress!)

    It is online at http://www.theartistsway.com/ Have a look and we can chat more about it at the weekend…

    Good luck, and keep up all the hard work. It will be worth it.

    Geraldine xxx

  • @Val, thanks for the comment. I agree to a point, I think we have a lot of control and should use that, and yet I firmly believe I am where I am supposed to be, with the people I’m meant to be with.

    @Sezin, thank you for your faith in me! You may be right, I need to expand my definition. I remember looking at my children as newborns and thinking that it was the ultimate, mundane miracle. I’d forgotten though, thanks for reminding me of it.
    I do envy your success because that’s exactly what it is. No matter what people say about your book, you wrote it, stood by it and guided it into the world. You didn’t have to do that. You could have left it in the drawer and not exposed either yourself or it to the harsh light of the world. Taking that step is the biggest success of all. Dealing with other peoples feelings about it may be challenging, as is dealing with the traumas behind it, but it confirms how strong you are now, in the person you’ve become.

    @Ger, so glad you commented! I don’t feel I’ve wasted time on the last project, it taught me a lot about planning and writing, most importantly that you should write while it’s hot. If it goes off the boil, it becomes very difficult. Hence my putting it aside in the hope of coming back some other time when I feel more energised about it.
    I remember you mentioned that you got the ‘The Artist’s Way’ alright but I didn’t know you’d started it. It’s been on my list for a long time but looking at the website, now would probably be a very good time to get it.

  • @Val, thanks for the comment. I agree to a point, I think we have a lot of control and should use that, and yet I firmly believe I am where I am supposed to be, with the people I’m meant to be with.

    @Sezin, thank you for your faith in me! You may be right, I need to expand my definition. I remember looking at my children as newborns and thinking that it was the ultimate, mundane miracle. I’d forgotten though, thanks for reminding me of it.
    I do envy your success because that’s exactly what it is. No matter what people say about your book, you wrote it, stood by it and guided it into the world. You didn’t have to do that. You could have left it in the drawer and not exposed either yourself or it to the harsh light of the world. Taking that step is the biggest success of all. Dealing with other peoples feelings about it may be challenging, as is dealing with the traumas behind it, but it confirms how strong you are now, in the person you’ve become.

    @Ger, so glad you commented! I don’t feel I’ve wasted time on the last project, it taught me a lot about planning and writing, most importantly that you should write while it’s hot. If it goes off the boil, it becomes very difficult. Hence my putting it aside in the hope of coming back some other time when I feel more energised about it.
    I remember you mentioned that you got the ‘The Artist’s Way’ alright but I didn’t know you’d started it. It’s been on my list for a long time but looking at the website, now would probably be a very good time to get it.

  • Dear Catherine, thank you for the mention in this thoughtful and honest post. I’ve related a lot to the idea of creativity cycles lately, that there is an upswing, downswing, and dormancy, too. The title of this post is brilliant in capturing that. I also think of building in layers, that you need to lay your foundation firmly to build on top of it, and to focus on business when you need to is a natural and extremely important thing. Sometimes you need to be working in other places and get settled there to be able to go back to creativity. Creativity brings up stuff that needs to be dealt with, too.

    Sezin’s reminder that it takes time, that sometimes a story needs to germinate and develop over time, is really great for me to hear, too. I try to remind myself that when the timing is right, no time is wasted.

  • Dear Catherine, thank you for the mention in this thoughtful and honest post. I’ve related a lot to the idea of creativity cycles lately, that there is an upswing, downswing, and dormancy, too. The title of this post is brilliant in capturing that. I also think of building in layers, that you need to lay your foundation firmly to build on top of it, and to focus on business when you need to is a natural and extremely important thing. Sometimes you need to be working in other places and get settled there to be able to go back to creativity. Creativity brings up stuff that needs to be dealt with, too.

    Sezin’s reminder that it takes time, that sometimes a story needs to germinate and develop over time, is really great for me to hear, too. I try to remind myself that when the timing is right, no time is wasted.

  • Catherine! An idea for nonfiction? I think nonfiction is a creative pursuit. I’d second Sezin and Rose’s thought that life is cumulative and so are your creations. They have their time and place, and your relationship with each project may change over time but it was something you needed to do at the time. It’s what got you here, and creativity in general is a messy business. Not a straight path. Shall we have a creativity retreat weekend down in canakkale this summer?

  • Anastasia

    Catherine! An idea for nonfiction? I think nonfiction is a creative pursuit. I’d second Sezin and Rose’s thought that life is cumulative and so are your creations. They have their time and place, and your relationship with each project may change over time but it was something you needed to do at the time. It’s what got you here, and creativity in general is a messy business. Not a straight path. Shall we have a creativity retreat weekend down in canakkale this summer?

  • Creativity weekend?? Sounds interesting and very very useful.
    I’ll have a think about it and see what I come up with…

  • Creativity weekend?? Sounds interesting and very very useful.
    I’ll have a think about it and see what I come up with…