The phrase popped up in my mind, out of the blue a few minutes ago. I didn’t even know it was a legitimate thing until I Googled the phrase “creative paralysis.” But apparently that’s the proper term when it comes to what I’ve been beating myself up over the past several months. Writing notebooks have been used very sporadically. My story files are gathering dust.
I quit a job to become an at-home creative person. And I’ve done nothing for nearly six months, at least, nothing relating to a writing career that I want to have. I’ve joked to a lot of people that I’m an over-analyzer and have to look at everything I can to get info or make a decision.
The trouble is, that’s the very trait that’s paralyzed my creativity. It seems to be the main brick wall those with creative paralysis run into.
I spent most of this weekend doing very little that was important and watched a lot of YouTube vids for inspirational stories, strange facts, a lot of Supernanny clips (for some reason), TED talks, slam poetry… which I guess one could argue is helpful to get the creative juices flowing. I also bookmarked a lot of articles about making a living as a writer and was reading them in between other things. And then got thinking of writing guides I could be reading the next few weeks, or copies of writing mags I haven’t tackled yet.
But it hit me tonight that like my dreaded to-do lists, all this reading or listening and looking for inspiration doesn’t do a lick of good if I don’t write anything down. I’m sure whatever good ideas I had or snippets I could put into a story are long gone, and that’s my fault.
Over-analysis and the pursuit of perfection are murder to creativity. I’ve known that for a long time, but it’s hard to realize when you’re in the middle of such craziness most of the time. It hit me earlier that I could’ve dragged out some folders I’d worked on before and at least took a look at the ideas and jotted down some notes, or got my lines book out and wrote some funny or weird stuff that might help create some funny story down the way.
Nope, I seek perfection, and figure “when blah-blah-blah is done, I’ll get serious.”
But I’ve given myself almost six months to “get serious.” This isn’t going to work if I don’t exactly step up to the plate. It’s another form of that procrastination that’s dogged my footsteps for years all over again. Who knows how many works I could’ve edited or wrote fresh in this time? But I didn’t. I LET creative paralysis happen.
We truly are our own worst enemies most days for most circumstances. I have much to do beyond what is needed to have a writing career, and that will take time away from writing a bit. But going through a weekend like this, being this lazy… that’s no good. Granted, I’m a bit worn out from worrying about neighbors and such and just emotionally drained after learning about the sea turtles being rescued and power back on all over the state… though the water situation is still troublesome and needs a day or two more to be resolved.
I’m glad I’m worn out and ready to go to sleep now. Now that I have a label for what to call what’s gone on, I can take some time to really think about it and after my errands in the morning, get back home and make real game plans, and have backups in case you’re stuck instead of “forgetting” about what you have meant to do for ages now.
It’s pretty bad when you let yourself “forget” a dream.
Awareness is definitely needed. I’ll mull over it, and maybe sleep will help me figure this out… and tomorrow.