Saturday, 17 November 2012

Creative desert



For the past few weeks I've felt as though I've been living in some kind of creative desert. I haven't written any prose worth mentioning. I've looked at so many of my own badly composed, under-exposed photos can't that I can't seem to recognise a good one any more. I can't even bring myself to write a review of Brighton Rock, one of my favourite reads this year.

This feeling has come on gradually, I think. An expanding, imperceptible at first, of the mundane worries of everyday life until any thought of creativity seems irrelevant or just impossible.

After a good night's sleep, I'm feeling a bit more positive today. I scanned the plethora of creative writing books on my shelves and picked up Short Circuit A Guide to the Art of the Short Story, edited by Vanessa Gebbie. This is an excellent collection of twenty-four essays commissioned from well-published short story writers. I read a piece on setting by Nigerian author Chika Unigwe. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but it did make an impression of sorts: bringing back memories of a holiday in Greece and a little girl being tested on her times tables. Perhaps there are a few rain clouds on the horizon after all.

How about you? Do you ever feel this way? How do you escape from your creative desert?

10 comments:

  1. Denise, I'm sorry but with terrible ham-fistedness on my iPhone I've accidentally deleted your comment. I hope that you find your mojo again soon and that the Gebbie book is useful.

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    1. Heh! Not to worry Karen. I have a tendency to lose comments but I blame blogger.It couldn't possibly be anything I do.

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  2. I know this feeling only too well, Karen. It isn't uncommon when you've just finished a major commitment as you have. The trick is to catch it after you've given yourself enough time to recover from previous exertions but before it becomes too entrenched. I'm trying to drag myself back from a period where I have done no thoughtful book reviewing at all. There has been a chicken and egg syndrome going on here. I'm not reviewing books thoughtfully because I'm not read books that really merit thoughtful reviewing and I'm not reading books that deserve thoughtful reviewing because I have got out of the habit of enjoying books that merit that amount of attention. I find the only way forward is discipline , which I used to be so much batter at than I seem to be at the moment.

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    1. You might be right about finishing a major commitment Alex. I expected that anti-climactic feeling and then when it didn't come right away, I didn't expect it to come at all. Discipline is not always my forte either, but I am a great advocate of keeping busy.

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    2. That 'batter' has to be a freudian slip. There are times when I feel as if I'm battering myself over the head to be a better person than I am.

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    3. Yes I 'batter' myself at times too. We shouldn't be too hard on ourselves, but I guess it's the batter that makes us better.

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  3. Oh lord, yes, and particularly in November which is such a lifeless and de-energising month. For the past five or six years I've given up trying to create anything from now until Christmas is past. I find I do feel much better when I let myself off the hook! Have a lovely time planning and dreaming, though.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Litlove. It's good to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Sooner or later I do manage to read myself out of it, though, and I think I might have found the antidote this time. I'll tell you more in my next post.

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  4. Absolutely, Karen. The after-effect slump is all too common and I admire people who can just get on with the next thing, which as you've gathered isn't me. When I feel like that I read... anything... usually the lighter the better. Somehow that makes me feel like I'm doing something creative, even if it's fooling myself.

    Not sure if you've read my post on the DS, but in case you haven't, one of the creative writing tutors at Strathclyde Uni has a great way of getting the creative juices flowing again. It's free to download from her website and although it's poetry, it's really about getting your mind working creatively again. I've found it really helpful. Her name is Dorothy Alexander and the download is called the Creativity Generator Workshop.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Vee. I don't visit the DS much now, but I'll certainly take a look at this.

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