Many have a physical or mental obstacle to overcome when pursuing an art or craft, but on your path beware of those who dismiss your dreams as trivial rather than lend aid. To suppress someone’s creativity is to stunt humanity’s growth.
If at all possible, don’t let it happen. It’s your path. Find a way.
A Best Process
As a writer, ideas often come out of nowhere. In the shower. Washing dishes. Vacuuming. I’ve found physical tasks requiring little thought are prime moments for brainstorming. I also have what I call my “scene building” process. It works best during prolonged activity like walking. Head bowed and eyes barely seeing, my mind slips into The Zone, an idea for a scene is born, and I’m off…
Okay, A happens—and after it B. C will follow. Okay, so A happens and then B and, yes, I’ll add C. Oh, in-between there’s A.1. All right, so A, A.1, B, and then C—no, scrap C and insert C1 and after that comes D. Great. Okay, A, A.1, B, C1 and D, which leads to E…
And so it goes, though I don’t actually say it like that. It’s silent images playing in my head, but you get the idea. Step after step, I add, each time recapping so I don’t forget, the repetition engraining the entirety in my brain. I could stop and type it into my phone, but too often that aborts the creative moment (I’ll type if facing interruption). Otherwise, I keep walking and scene building.
If you’re someone who suffers depression or anxiety then you recognize how my rolling repetition mimics the trap those two mental health issues like to set. Depression often pulls the unwary down to drown in the past. Anxiety whisks us away in a tornado where we spin through the future’s darkest possibilities time and again. Worse is when they work together and pull us apart.
One mistake scene building and I can trigger my issues. All that’s required is for a scene to spark a memory and in an instant I’m hurtled towards the dark place I work hard to avoid. For some the answer is medication. Risks to my creativity aside, my sensitivity to such drugs eliminates that option. Instead, I train. Train? Yup. More on that shortly.
For most of my life I operated in hyper mode. For instance, from 1994 to 2009 I didn’t utilize a single sick day. I had an extreme coffee habit I used to drown my problems. I was blind to how hyperactivity was killing my writing ambitions.
A lung disease and resulting brushes with death in 2010 changed everything. That year represents the divide between before and after in virtually every aspect of my life, and in many ways, even six years later, I’m still rebuilding. The choice was clear: manage my illness or wither away. I chose to adapt, but a slower lifestyle also freed my depression and anxiety to ran amuck.
When life cuts a divide across your life this side of the line is your new beginning.
The same changes I made to manage my physical illness also rescued my scene building process. I gobbled up books on meditation right along with those on writing craft. Meditation and mindfulness became the heavy weights for my training. Now, I’m more conscious of my mind going off on a tangent and more adept at allowing negative thoughts to wash over me and disappear. Yes, I slip up—oh wow, I slip up—but overall, I’m always improving.
The Bottom Line
Many professionals back in 2010 declared my future one of withering in a chair, short on air, and staring at a television. A select few helped me discover a different road.
My gratitude comes alive every time I walk and with each story I write, yet my road pales against many others. Discover your choices. Find a way. Make your art. The world needs your contribution.
For humanity’s sake we must endeavor to pursue our dreams and provide an outlet for our creativity. It may not be a straight line. It may be a difficult road. It may be an unfair path. We may have to compromise, seek assistance, or adapt, but if there’s a way we must find it. This world needs to hear all voices for balance and for growth.
Create. Share. Inspire.