All I want in life right now is stability and security, so that I can get back to my creative writing. There’s been a lot going on, including being busy at my part-time job, losing my second part-time job, looking for more work, taking care of my house and dog, keeping up with family, friends, and other social responsibilities. On top of everything, last week I was under the weather and still had to work. Nightmare!
With all these distractions and set backs, it’s been challenging to stay positive, let alone write consistently. There have been days when I’ve been lonely, sad, depressed, angry. I have questioned my life decisions: Why did I leave Los Angeles? Why don’t I write more? Why aren’t I making movies? Why did I adopt a second dog? Why did I spend so much money on X, Y, and Z? Why have I wasted so much time?? So on, and so on…
We all go through periods like this. Periods of Uncertainty. They’re terribly frustrating, but part of life. We often don’t know what’s around the corner, or how things are going to turn out. We hope for the best, but nothing is guaranteed. Uncertainty is, in my opinion, the antithesis of creativity. It’s hard to be creative when you don’t know how you’re going to pay your mortgage.
So, what should we do? Just give up?
Giving up is not an option.
But there are things we can do to make these challenging times a little more bearable:
- *MOST IMPORTANT* Do not get down on yourself. This is the worst possible thing you could do and serves no purpose whatsoever. Instead…
- Recognize the positive things you are doing. Every step, no matter how small, moves you closer to your goal. Remember, you are doing your best!
- Be creative when you can. Maybe it’s a few minutes when you wake up in the morning, or before you go to sleep. Maybe it’s on your lunch hour. Find a few minutes in your day to flex those creative muscles.
- Keep at least one regular social outlet with like-minded creative people. At the beginning of this year, I started a monthly writer’s group with a few friends, and it is literally saving my sanity right now. At the very least, this group is making me open my manuscript and review my work. I’m receiving feedback on my pages, even if I’m not writing a lot. Reading and analyzing other people’s work also flexes my writing brain.
- Keep exercising. Taking your dog for long walks counts!
- Take media breaks. Turn off your phone, radio, television, and unplug. Again, even if it’s just for a few minutes, it will help quiet your brain and keep you centered.
- Treat yourself to something small. Feel good about that job interview? Go have a sushi lunch. Get a mani/pedi. Buy yourself a used book. Do something nice for yourself as a reward.
- Bond with others in the same boat. I have a friend who is also looking for work, and we’ve been meeting up lately (often over beers) to talk about our days. It helps! We even send each other job postings, sometimes for jobs we’re applying to. We’re supporting each other, rather than being competitive.
I could go on… but you get the idea. The point is to Take Care Of Yourself. Now more than ever.
Of course there will be down moments. Feel them and move on. Don’t wallow, don’t look back, don’t stay stuck. Keep it moving, and keep it positive as much as possible.
This too shall pass, friends.