She’s been trying to nail her novel for several months.She’s been following all the advice about productivity and organization available in blogs and books. She gets up at 4.00 a.m. to try and write the number of words she’s set as her writing goal. She’s working her ass off to finish that first draft, and to keep up with her mates at NaNoWriMo Camp. She’s putting all she can in this project, and still the plot is dead, her protagonist is boring, and she hasn’t even have an antagonist to speak of. Although she tries not to edit as she writes, she can’t help having a look at the already written pages, and she doesn’t like what she reads. It doesn’t feel right.
He’s been trying to get his painting finished for a long time. He’s got the idea, he’s got the technique, he’s determined to have something to show at the next local art fair. What he hasn’t got is time. He goes to his day job, works all day, and when he returns home is so bloodly tired that most of the days he collapses in front of the TV, and falls asleep. He’s got the painting in him, he’s got the passion. He just lacks the energy.
Who could blame an artist for being tired, for stuggling and, still, feeling that he’s not going anywhere? Artists do. Most of them suffer from “the bicycle syndrome”, meaning that they are convinced that, unless they keep moving forward, they’ll stop and fall down. These thoughts of perfection and constant movement are at the root of most unwritten novels, unfinished paintings, unsung songs, and unlived creative lives.
All creative people will always try to do better, but they should also try to acknowledge all the time, effort, and willpower they have invested so far. They should recognize that sometimes is OK to stop and recharge.
You can do lots of things to recharge: unhook form social networking for a while, change the place where you write, or use a notebook and a fountain pen instead of your laptop, take your painting tools out to a park, go to a museum and work there, or just wander from hall to hall, letting your brain and your soul soak in the beauty and the peace…Anything will do, as long as you are ready to forgive yourself for not keeping your nose to the grindstone.
Stop. Recharge. Reevaluate your options if that’s what you need. Mid-course corrections, and changes of direction are acceptable. When you come back, you’ll be able to take a fresher look at your work, at your art.
When the image is new, the world is new
Gaston Bachelard – The Poetics of Space.