Creativity Greenhouse

I’m here at the Emirates Literary Festival and one of the things that strikes me about creative people is that they give priority to the their art. What separates us – the aspirants – from those who are published, invited, and touted as authors is the ability to put aside the daily demands of life in order to focus on the business of creating. Many people who want to write refuse to think about it in this way.

“I just write when the muse strikes me,” people often say.

These people seldom produce very much. Everyone from Stephen King to me, the co-editor of several anthologies, has a writing habit — daily writing habit. We sit down and get on with it so that by the end of the week, month, year, we have projects to show for those hours spent in isolation.

I admit that with my job at a start up, my well oiled machine has started to rust under the combination of the endless grind and the reduced number of hours I’m awake – an offshoot of my other job, being a healthy womb for our first child. I do keep up my fifteen minutes of morning pages most days – a habit 14 years in the making – but by the time they are over, the rest of life has crowded in.

Instead of bouncing out of bed to exercise, eat, or even write, I am on email, constantly catching up on work. I acknowledge this as last week being at a book fair and this week being at a festival have knocked my weekly blog entries to one side. But no one receives prizes for emails.

This is what I’m going to remind myself and re-commit to my creativity.

Do you have the same struggles? Any advice on prioritizing?

Reader Comments

  1. Nasser

    I can definitely relate…I pretty much struggle to prioritize anything…for instance, I’d be conflicted about doing an overdue assignment or getting a haircut!! or studying for a test or calling up a friend…it’s silly I know, since you’d think the choice would be obvious but truth is I give both equal deliberation and I don’t always end up making the best decision…it’s worse when you add procrastination and ADD into the mix as in my case..

    lol..not very helpful, am I? 😛

    Look at the bright side, you’ve been able to commit to the same writing regimen for the last 14 years…I’d consider it an accomplishment if I can do the same for two weeks! plus, you have a bun in the oven on the way, so cut yourself some slack! you’ve earned it 😉

    miss you and hope you have a safe flight back!

  2. Nasreen

    Work email is like a gas – it fills up all available space.

    I had the same thing happen to me while I worked at the startup. My Iphone had me constantly checking email, preparing responses in my mind or typing them out furiously. Turns out the phone has a feature that helped me break the habit. I could turn off automatic email sync – this made such a huge difference. I was finally possible to disengage completely during non-work hours. I had to do that so I could reclaim the rest of my day.

    It also helped that I realized it was insufferably rude to pull out one’s phone in company. It implies that making conversation with ones companions ranks below work email or facebook or twitter. Wouldn’t it be rude for me to be muttering something under my breath in company? Why was it ok for me to be muttering something under my breath on twitter?

    The first week is the hardest – if you stay away from email outside work hours for a week, they are most likely to manage just fine without you. This will make the second week easier, and by the third week, who knows, maybe you’ll be writing again? 🙂

    Much love
    -N

    • Mohanalakshmi

      That is such a great analogy for a pregnant woman :). The time change and multinational elements make it a bit challenging but I am trying to at least be off on Fridays (our Sunday). Glad to know others have to learn this the hard way.

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