Sunday 6 April 2014

Creative Head Space

Edvard Munch 'The Scream'
I was in a meeting on Friday discussing a symposium we are running in June and then a chapter that I had co-written that we were going to change into an article. I was listening to the words being spoken and at the back of my head their was a mini-me doing a very good impression of this Edvard Munch picture. For the briefest moment I thought I can't do it. My head felt like it was going to explode and I just didn't feel like I had the words to make it work. I had no head space left. I am sure I will but it made me realise how difficult it is to write, to be creative all the time when you have so many other pressures on you.

I know I am not the only one and am sure many of you can empathise with that scenario. I was discussing with IC it yesterday and I know she experiences the same thing. In both my roles I am constantly giving feedback on other people's work. I spend most days reading and I have to dig deep to find constructive feedback. It takes energy and head space. But I am also a writer and I need head space to be able to do that too. If I am honest and I can't find the time or head space to write it has an impact on my well being. I start to battle with the big black dog. He is a friend at the moment and I know it is because I have not had the time to release my creativity.

Again I am sure I am not the only one. It is important that you allow yourself the time and space to write. It is almost like giving yourself permission to write too. To even acknowledge that you are a writer sometimes. It is something we say to our first years when they join the university - you need to call yourselves writers. It is quite a hard thing to admit particularly if you have not been published. What gives you the write [sic] to do that?

I know some people like to have a routine where they write every single day for a set amount of time. Others write when they can. But as I said in my previous post you have to do what works for you. I have tried the write every day scenario. It didn't work for me in that instead it just created additional pressure in that if I didn't manage to write every day I felt more of a failure. What I do do now is write frantically in short bursts when uni finishes and snatch moments when I can during semester time if inspiration grabs me. I try very hard not to feel guilty about it. This is not always easy. You need to work out your own strategies that allow you the freedom to write and the head space to let those words.

In the meantime semester has finished... there is marking to be done, a validation document to be written, manuscripts to read, a book to be written, a chapter to be converted to an article, a novel to rewrite, a symposium to organise, workshops to run...and...and...and...and...and...and... breathe, don't panic.

But I had some good news about the chapter breakdown of the novel yesterday - the story is working - so the creative juices are beginning to trickle their way into my head space. I am not going to try and force it until my head empties out a bit and the black dog shrinks from the Great Dane that is sat beside me to the small Beagle that I can cope with.

This is a new sound track to my life. It is one of my favourites. I listen to it a lot as it seems to fit in to this particular moment in time. It is Josh Ritter - Change of Time