This week I took my cat to the vet and while I was standing there waiting to pay the bill I was admiring the artwork on the wall. It’s a beautiful illustration or watercolour, and it captures my attention every time I’m there. While I was admiring this piece, that critical voice in my head started to reprimand me for not practicing my drawing last weekend or for several days before that. I started to think that I was quite the failure for letting “other things” get in the way of my creative work. Then I remembered… I didn’t draw anything last weekend because I was in Chicago making Puppets and practicing performing with them. Cut yourself a little slack, eh?
But this happens all the time, doesn’t it? Even though I try to live a life that is perpetually creative, I become more and more jealous of my time to create my work – be it theatre, art, sewing, drawing, music, podcasting – whatever the work, there’s always something mundane that’s going to get in the way. Bills, laundry, dishes, yardwork, workouts, ordinary dayjobs, illness, … whatever.
It’s easy to understand the workaholic when you are trying to be creative. There’s never enough time to do all the shows you want, or catch all the photos, or write all the plays… so what to do when that Critical Voice starts to get you down about all you’ve not accomplished?
I don’t really know, actually. At least, today I don’t. Because that voice did manage to get me a little down yesterday. On sensible days I have a plan, I have a schedule and I just keep plugging and keep creating. It’s like living Sisyphus’ life – the Greek King condemned to pushing a boulder up a hill to see it roll down again before it reaches the top. I’m constantly rolling my stone up the hill. It’s a “punishment” of my own devising, really, and most days I don’t view it as such, but there certainly is a sense of the never-ending to living creatively. The task will never be done.
How long do you let yourself celebrate after a creative task is complete, before you begin the next? Or does that ever really happen?