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?

9 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud”

  1. Preach, girl!! :)

    I’ve been a little frustrated lately because I can’t seem to find/make time to work on my writing between all my homework assignments. I’ve mastered doing my homework and watching TV at the same time, but it’s hard to multi-task with writing.

    Something that’s helped is writing on 750words.com. It’s possible you told me about this site. I don’t remember where I heard about it. But it’s fun! I’ve missed these past couple of days because of writing papers, but this weekend is fall break (!!!), so hopefully I’ll get back on track.

    1. Hi Gabs,

      Ugh, sorry you’re stressed too (but glad to know I’m not alone!!! Haha). It’s super hard to find time for the things you like to do, I hear you on that one. Also I’m jealous you can do your homework while watching TV! I have such a hard time concentrating.

      I think I did tell you about 750 words! I was doing it last fall, but stopped after NaNo. What are you doing with it, just stream-of-consciousness writing? Or are you writing stories? Maybe I should start that back up! :)

      Good luck with all your work and have a good fall break! After you get back maybe we can try to start recording pre-NaNo podcasts??? :) xo

  2. I know what you mean! I’m not barely as busy as you this year, but I sure was the past four years and being a busybody I have to admit I am a bit jealous of all you have going on! It sounds stressful, but it sure does keep you going, doesn’t it? And, although you don’t have as much time to do lots of the fun projects like project 365 I bet you’re doing a lot of bigger projects that are just as awesome… but in a schooly, maybe even boring kind of way…
    Eh, that was my attempt at positivity!

    1. Hi Stephanie, thanks for your comment! It’s been awesome to read people’s encouraging words. You needn’t be jealous, it can sometimes sound more glamorous than it is. The truth is I spend a lot of time in my apartment, doing schoolwork and reading! Ha. I am still doing my Project 365 (it’s just getting more difficult!) but not very many other fun ones. Trying to remedy that though! Thanks again for your comment. :)

  3. Don’t worry – I totally know that feeling of needing to get busy making/doing something that’s intellectually stimulating. For me, it usually kicks in after I’ve been taking a breather from something, whether it’s work or a writing project or something else. At first, I’ll enjoy the break…but eventually, the aimlessness and emptiness sinks in, until I know I’ve got to start up something new or I’ll go crazy. In fact, I’m kind-of feeling that right now! Not sure what exactly I’ll be tackling, but hopefully something ambitious yet manageable enough for me to balance with everything else I’m juggling at the moment – in case you haven’t heard, my family’s clearing out of Oakville – and me with them! But even amidst all the chaos that’s looming on my own horizon, I know I’ll be making the effort to take on new projects. For as much as that stuff involves work, it’s also ultimately a comfort thing.

    1. Hi Marc! Good to know you know the feeling too. That feeling is totally consuming for me, and it sounds like it is for you too! I’m not good at not doing anything.

      I didn’t know you were moving away! Boo. That is sad news. How far will you be going? I hope that you will be able to find the time to do a fun project “amidst the chaos” as you say. That’s a good way of putting it! I also love that you said that this creative stuff involves work, but it’s a comfort thing – that’s exactly how I feel too! :)

      1. My folks will be moving to Windsor, as my Dad found a new job there. I’ll be tagging along with them initially to help them out, but afterwards I’ll definitely be on the hunt for a new job and place to live – NOT Windsor, and NOT back to Oakville! Right now, Guelph is actually pretty high on my list of ideal choices – and among the projects I hope to keep going while all this is happening is a new writing gig I’ve got going on with the upcoming new website for a Guelph bookshop, The Bookshelf. Already written a film article and a few capsule book reviews, and hoping to keep sending more stuff their way soon!

        1. That all sounds awesome Marc! Sounds like you’re really carving out an awesome life for yourself. Very cool. I’ve never been to Guelph, but I have friends who live there and love it. That’s very exciting too that you’re writing for this bookshop/website. I love book stores so much. I can’t wait to hear what you end up doing. :)

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