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Finite Resources

by Jonathan 2 Comments

When creativity is spread thin across multiple cups — writing, music, work, gaming, blogging — there seems to be a point of diminishing returns. As always, the struggle is finding the right balance and coming up with ways to replenish the creative juices.

The Value of Other Creative Outlets

by Jonathan 13 Comments

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Release Pressure Whenever You Can - photo by Les Chatfield - Brighton, England

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Balancing creative outlets is not something I’ve done very well over the last nine months. Writing has taken the lion’s share of my creative time. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but there are days when I miss my other main creative outlet — playing music.

Music is usually a way for me to connect with other people (my brother in particular) and take a social moment as well. Mainly I bang on my guitar and sing loudly, but there is an element of catharsis there as well, a way of letting of steam that writing just cannot do.

Every time I pick up my guitar and play awhile, I wonder why I don’t do it more.

But I know why.

It’s because this novel has superseded my need to play music because I channel most of my creative energy there. But it is important to remember that sometimes it pays to take a little break and explore other media of creativity.

If you’re extra lucky, your foray into music or painting or drawing or woodworking or whatever it is may just inspire your writing.

No matter the outlet, I am glad to have the choice. It’s the good life.

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Send the Artist Out for Coffee

by Jonathan 2 Comments

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They say a kiss is just a flower that a bee might return from
And do his little dance at the hive
Perhaps it’s worth mentioning as I write this song down
I am the happiest f*cker alive
Because the seashore cries out for a painter to paint it
And the wind whips the water and the foam
Because I am sad, sad, sad, sad
And I’m far away from home.

Peter Mulvey – Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad (And Far Away From Home)

In that verse, Peter Mulvey captures what, for me, is the nature of my writing existence. My psyche suffers from whiplash during the struggle that is all but silent to those outside my mind. Almost every day I’m at the keyboard, working and writing, experiencing the joy of creating, the pleasure of a well-turned phrase. And also every day, I despair of my incompetence and my struggle to capture with words the images in my mind and my inexpertly woven story.

Then I tell the artist to go out for coffee or a walk or anything that will get him out of the house.

As soon as I hear the door close behind the poor wretch, I pick up my cell phone and invite the other guy over, the one with the rolled up sleeves, the pants with the greasy sheen on the thighs, and the utilitarian hands. He’s far less mercurial than the artist and doesn’t mind plowing ahead and taking time to build and tear down and build again. He can take whatever wreckage the artist created in frustration, slowly pull it apart, assess the value of the parts and begin putting them back together. This time the story may sit a bit lower than before, but I can climb it and jump off without worrying that it will collapse. I can look at the simplicity of the work and appreciate the structure as opposed to appreciating the complexity of the work and trying not to see the suspect framework.

And after the hard work is done, me and the builder, we have a beer and sit in silence and satisfaction at what we’ve created. The worker leaves and the artist arrives, a little ashamed. He takes in what we’ve done while he was gone and he nods. He knows the builder must come and that it’s better if the he, the artist, is not around when that time comes. Because the artist knows that he will again have his turn to make the work shine in the morning it is unveiled and every morning thereafter.

I like to think I’m not the only one.