Last year, within three months of each other, my nephew and aunt died by suicide. For an undetermined period of time “my art” was on hold. The work that I did for my clients, and even for myself, had no space in my life. My pain had pushed aside the light, hope and creativity that had been part of my everyday existence. Of course it wasn’t gone. It was simply suppressed by a need that was grander and more insistent. I don’t remember who I was before the day in March when I received the first notification. I am still getting to know who I am now.
Perhaps it’s the heightened self-awareness that has me questioning whether or not I’ve always been this way, or whether this sense of reluctant creativity is part of my new existence. Either way, I’ve come to realize that I am chasing creativity. For me, deadlines are the enemy of creativity. I find myself sitting in front of my computer urging thoughts to materialize. Of course thoughts do materialize, but they are about my laundry, the car insurance bill, the phone rings (true story…phone rang just now,) how my kid is managing in school today and everything BUT the the threads needed to piece together whatever project I’m working on.
Today it’s a radio show and children’s book review. It should be so easy, but all these competing thoughts are jumping around in my head like sheep in need of counting! It never helps when collaborative partners are inquiring about cool opportunities or checking in because I’ve been social media silent too long. The minute hand on the clock teases me as the click-click-click sound of time advancing taunts my progress. I don’t ever recall this epic struggle to find my way with the work being the case when I worked in the corporate sector.
When it’s your own creative work that alludes you no one can tell you how to fix it. It is a personal journey and your very own obstacle to overcome. I have a few creativity/soul reset boosters I try when I find I am stuck. Getting back to nature is usually a sure bet for me. It usually involves getting myself near a body of water and getting back to the elemental rhythms of earth, wind and water. I’m not a huge fan of bugs, but a beautiful sky can inspire and ground me while filling my creative reservoir. It gives me space to let go of all the stuff that is cluttering my heart, mind and soul. One key takeaway is that it only works when I’m alone.
I have found that my nature sanctuary has zero effect when shared with a minor who has her own set of needs. As a mompreneur, I often find the competing demands of parenting and creative entrepreneurship diametrically opposed. My creativity does not thrive in the organized chaos that is parenting a spirited tween. I’ve come to realize that I need to create space, tools and time for brief inspiration sessions. They need to be brief because the reality of getting hours of uninterrupted time to work, even with headphones on (universal signal that I’m in my creative space AKA pretty please let me finish this one, single, solitary task before you tap me on the shoulder to ask where something is or what’s for dinner) is akin to hitching a ride on a unicorn.
I don’t see an end to my headlong chasing creativity. Today, since I don’t have the luxury of getting away alone in nature, I’ll force the words, images and concepts into existence. It may not be my most inspired work, but it will meet the deadline. Some days that has to be enough. I do realize that I have to make room, space and time to honor the vital essence of my artistry. The ability to create in ways that touch people is an awesome gift, one that deserves to be nurtured, respected and cherished, even if at times you have to chase it.
Written by, Tatiana Bacchus
Owner: Teaspoon & Pound Media LLC
IN THE ZONE! Tatiana Bacchus on the set of “On the JOB with Lani Lou” filming a NASCAR episode. PHOTO CREDIT: Stephanie Malson