P: but then I did hit a point where I had to carry on, carry on with something
K: it was like a real need?
P: yes, definitely, absolutely and having dreams about drawings. It became a really strong thing. It’s like a different part of yourself sort of shouting out for some attention.
The extract above comes from an interview I did with an artist when researching into creativity and the words we use to talk about it. Here P is referring to when she became a mother of twins and had no time for her art for a few years (see the page on my book ‘Sourcing the Self’ for more about this research).
I have been thinking about P’s words as I have currently been having to give most of main daily energy to work that gives me a basic income. At certain times of the year these commitments don’t leave me enough space in the day to continue with my own creative work – in my case, writing. In these periods I don’t dream about writing, as P did about drawing. In fact, I’m more likely to dream about my work when I am engaged in daily writing, as I find myself living in the world I am creating through words.
I don’t experience such a clear inner voice as P either. For me it’s more of an indistinct ‘malaise’, more as if something – not quite tangible – is missing. Life feels incomplete. During periods where I am working creatively every day I feel much more in balance, and I’m more likely to have an underlying feeling of contentment or something like ‘rightness’, even though I will often be struggling with the writing, and frequently frustrated with my lack of ability to find the right words or to keep going at a steady pace (instead of staring out of the window).
When I don’t have enough time in a week to work creatively then I often question the ‘meaningfulness’ of my life and have many doubts about the value of it, even though I don’t have any illusions that any creative writing of mine will be seen to be of any value to anyone else. But at least I’m giving it a go, and, more importantly, I get absorbed in it and my experience of time changes dramatically.
Do you have similar experiences, I wonder?