Re: Creativity Takes a Rest
Within every creative cycle, there is a period of emptiness, infertility and fallowness.
If I asked, “Does creativity need rest?” We’d all nod and say, “Yes, it does.”
And then we’d go straight back to our busy lives.
Americans are working harder and longer than ever. I’ve seen several news reports on the topic all year long. Many of the harder-than-ever workers are self-employed, like freelancers. But some are telecommuters, employed by companies and working from home. I’ll bet there are plenty of folks overworking in the workplace, as well.
Many books and movies caution us about overwork. Some are aimed at children, who are affected too, of course. The movie Cars pops to mind, as does Jamie Lee Curtis’s latest children’s book, Is There Really A Human Race?
As a working mom, I know that it’s all too easy for overwork to creep in when I am already trying to cram as much work as I can into my family’s hectic schedule. Sometimes, because I am juggling so much, I feel like I’m not getting enough done. So I try to cram more work into the nooks and crannies. But it never works. The more I cram in, the less focused and effective I become.
When I am not honoring my need for rest, I become physically haggard and mentally exhausted. I feel emotionally blocked and spiritually empty. But as soon as I do take a rest, the opposite happens—life force rushes back in.
After an entire weekend free of work responsibilities, I am energetic when I return to my desk on Monday morning. I feel refreshed and ready to dive back in. I am remembering that the sacred pause of a Sabbath, a day of rest, allows me to meet and greet the feelings I may not have time to feel while I am moving so quickly all the time.
And now a confession. Despite the fact that I made a commitment to my husband at the beginning of the year that I would take weekends off from work, I am writing this on a Saturday morning. (Busted!) But, as I always say, it’s never too late to make a comeback.
It’s only 8:00 a.m. and I’m wrapping this up. As a family, we’ve got some serious canoodling to do today. First we’ll hit the bagel shop. Then we’ll stroll the farmer’s market. And finally, the piéce de resistance: hours to wander Powell’s City of Books. Now this sounds fun!
And maybe this isn’t your idea of rest. That’s okay too. There is really no “right” way to rest. So although I think all the books about zen and yoga and meditation are great, as a mom, the last thing I need is one more thing I have to do before I get to rest properly.
For me, I just dial direct. The key is tuning in to see what “rest” means to me today. And then doing (or not doing) that. As in right now. Without intermediaries.
And although I don’t associate the Sabbath with any particular religion, you might. And that’s totally cool. It’s also cool to appreciate the Sabbath each in our own personal way. Meaning the way that is most meaningful to us.
But now I’m getting deep. And seriously, I gotta go. My muse is lurking out there somewhere amid the flavored cream cheese, fresh veggies, and stacks of new and used books.
Ciao! And don’t forget to rest!
In the writing-for-publication spirit,
P.S. Posting this reminded me of an article I wrote many moons ago (before I was a mom) for Bluesuitmom.com. It’s called, “Whatever Happened to the Day of Rest?”
Christina Katz is the author of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (Writer’s Digest Books, March 2007). She is a featured presenter at the Writer’s Digest/BEA Writer’s Conference, The Whidbey Island Writers Association MFA Residency, and the Willamette Writers Conference. She’s been teaching writing-for-publication classes for six years and has appeared on Good Morning America. She is also publisher and editor of this e-zine and another called The Writer Mama. Christina blogs daily at http://www.thewritermama.wordpress.com/. For more about Writer Mama, visit Christina’s website at http://www.thewritermama.com/.