Thinking Out Loud

I feel like lately my creativity has been taking a nosedive. I’ve felt rushed and tired, felt like there wasn’t enough time in the day, felt frantic and all-over-the-place. (Anyone else out there saying “Preach, girl!”??)

A lot of these feelings have to do with the fact that I am, all of a sudden, a whole lot busier than I have been in the last few years. I’m taking a full courseload, working part-time, and am the food editor at this magazine. I also try to have a social life, sometimes. All of this added together equals out to one hectic Stephanie. I have to-do lists coming out my ears (in fact I have a book of them), and I am still striving to find a balance in my routine.

I also have a lot on my mind, in a way I haven’t in previous years. This stuff isn’t as urgent, or even all that stressful, but it’s always there, always milling about in my brain. It’s the questions about my future! I’m graduating this Spring, and there are a lot of questions that need answering between now and then. What will I do with all my stuff? Am I going to move? Where will I work? What about grad school? Where will I travel? What can I afford? What will I do? For now, I know that next year is going to be a year of working at a “casual” job (probably continue to waitress) and traveling and spending time with people that I love as much as possible. How I will accomplish all that is another question entirely. So between making lists, and brainstorming, and researching graduate programs, and looking up apartments – it’s safe to say my cognitive load has increased in recent months.

Please know, however, that this is not me feeling sorry for myself. Not at all! I am very happy to be juggling all the things I am, and when I think of the future (although it sometimes scares me to no end), it’s very exciting to see all the possibilities ahead. None of the things on my mind are negative, they just take up a lot of space and time.

But if there’s one thing I know about creativity, it’s that it needs to be prioritized. It’s so easy to decide to “not have time” for fun, creative things. And if there’s another thing I know about creativity, it’s that when I don’t use mine, I feel flat, and dull, and even more tired. I woke up this morning and had that feeling I get when I get excited about a new project, but then realized that I actually didn’t have a new project at all. But that giddy, excited, write-things-down, make-fun-lists, get-to-work feeling resonated, and made me realize how much I’m craving a project or creative focus.

I’d really like to make that project a quilt (!!), but a little taken aback about how much the tools will cost (not to mention the fabric, of course). I’m still dutifully taking my photo every day, but enjoying it less now that I’m spending more time indoors. Next year I probably won’t be doing Project 365, instead trying to take as many photos as possible whenever I’m inspired. And I haven’t tried anything very fancy in the kitchen lately. Or scrapbooked! Or made a DIY project!

I think I know what I need to do to shake this ennui. Get my thinking cap on, and do something creative. Maybe I should carve a pumpkin? Or decorate my apartment for fall, I think I have a Jack-o-lantern garland kicking around somewhere. Or maybe I should make some fancy cookies, and give them away. Or perhaps try my hand at baking my own energy bars. Or getting back into this blog the way I should. And of course, NaNoWriMo is coming up!! Lots of opportunities for me to stretch my creative muscle.

How are you doing? How is your back-to-school going? Are you feeling stressed, too?