Saturday, 1 August 2015

Chasing Your Tail

The creative process can be a lot like a dog (or cat if your cat is like that!) chasing its tail. It can seem like fun at the beginning because you're going round and round and getting dizzy but, man, you just can't catch the end of that tail!

Every creative person has been there. You come with an amazing idea and start working on it. Sooner or later, you hit a brick wall. It could be a creative, financial or time related wall. But it happens.

Then the chase begins. Mortality and a feeling of time being lost may rear its ugly head. Another idea relating to your original one may strike. Hopelessness might settle in. You may begin to panic and wonder how you're going to finish it. You stand up and once more try to work on that crazy, brilliant idea you had.

Yet you feel like you're getting nowhere. You feel like you're running in circles while the goal you want to reach stands just mere inches from you. No matter how much you reach or how hard you stretch or how fast you run, you can never reach it. It always, inevitably, seems to stay just out of your grasp.

Finally, you tire and it's in these moments that the best ideas seem to appear. Once you're taking care of yourself you find that the ideas begin to flow. You may find a way to get that financial backing. That niggling plot line may correct itself. Shows may seem to book themselves. But none of it would have been possible without your own hard work.

How do you survive “The Chase”? Learning to look after yourself is one way. Again, that's something that many creative people don't do. We seem to trudge on, fighting through illness and life problems to get to the end product. We grind on until we can't take it any more. Learning to look after yourself is something I'm only just learning to do. If I want to sleep, I sleep. If I want to drink a gallon of tea and eat ALL the biscuits, then I do. I've even learned to say “No”, something I haven't done in a very long time. If I want to write something completely random and off the wall, I do. While I keep my eye on the end product, this is a freeing experience. And a nap in the middle of the day never hurt anyone!

Do something else, anything else. I've got some phone calls to make. But there's an eight hour time difference and waking someone up in the middle of the night just ain't cool. So I've sorted part of my wardrobe, taken a nap, and now I'm writing this.

Create, even if it's not what you want to be working on. Stretching the imagination in another direction can lead it to where you need to be.

Talk. Call a friend and brainstorm with them.

Try, as much as you can (and no matter how frustrating it may be), to enjoy the journey. You'll get there whether it's tomorrow or next year. You can do it!

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