Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Next Chapter – Secret #4 Surrendering to Creative Cycles

I’m taking part in an online book blogging club called The Next Chapter. This post is part of our discussion about The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. Feel free to jump in to the conversation here or with some of the other posts about Secret #4.

So, I’ve run into a very small snag with the book blogging thing . . . I had to return the book.  It was a library book (one of only 2 copies in Vancouver library) and it was requested by another library user so I could no longer renew it.*  But, I did scan all the important pages into my computer so I can read those bits and base my blogging off of that, along with the other posts I read.  

Crazy Creative Cycles

Ok, so I struggled to try to think of what my creative cycles are like.  Since I struggle to put myself under the creative banner, I’ve never really reflected on my creative cycles.  Never really stopped to take note.  I’ll have to try to pay more attention.  Cycles are one of those things where the more you know about them, the more you are able to use them to your own advantage.

I acknowledge that outside events guide some of my cycles.  November is increasingly becoming a time of literary intensity for me.  The turn to fall weather still carries with it certain studious impulses.  Winter and snow makes me feel like hibernating (but only because I can’t afford to spend two months off of work so I can be on a mountain skiing). 

The Void

When creative voids come, I’m usually too busy doing other stuff to notice.  I throw myself into something, become engrossed, and when I’ve saturated myself, move on to something else. 

There are times that I do feel like I’m just not connecting with the right life rhythms in general though.  I get into kind of a funk.  That is the frustrating void that I sometimes have to work through.  How do I manage?  None of my methods seem particularly sage or special . . .

  • reading
  • thinking
  • writing
  • occasionally talking
  • forgetting
  • cleaning and organizing, clearing the air
  • getting in touch with my primal visceral self
  • looking to higher powers for guidance/signs
  • returning to or creating rituals

Perhaps it was my Christian upbringing or just my own life experience that has taught me to have faith that things will work themselves out.  I also have a certain stubborn streak – there are some things that are just not an option for me.  Things like: not improving, not surviving, not making the best of it.  I may feel moments of fear and doubt, but I know in the big picture, the void is just temporary.

The Pinnacle

I also get times of intense energy and passion.  Actually, I sometimes think I might be slightly manic-depressive.  I like the phrase ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ so when I’ve got the energy, inclination, and passion to do something, I usually shuffle things around so I can do it.  Sometimes when I’m in a manic phase, I will take on a bit too much for myself and have to dial it back or get burned out too quickly. 

My pinnacles are usually fairly personal things.  If I come out and share with you voluntarily the bright spot with something creative, it means you are part of the inner circle.  Generally, I’m not going to jump up and down and shout it from a rooftop.**  I might manage to convince myself to a small celebration or a treat, but I have difficulty allowing self-indulgence.  Instead I’ll just glow inside for a little while, and then get back to the rest of my life. 

*I did have to incur a small library fine.  As a Virgo and a person who is always punctual about returning library books, having to pay a $0.60 fine actually caused a bit of anxiety and stung my pride a bit.  But, it was my own fault.  Had I not left it to the last minute to try and renew it, I would have seen the request and been able to return it on time.  My only option for a timely return would have involved breaking my writing date.

**I sometimes think it would be nice if some of the people I knew would do some jumping up and down and shouting from rooftops on my behalf.


KathrynAntyr said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. When I have had to pay late fines I always thought of it as a donation to a worthy organization. I'm sorry to hear that you had to return the book. Dang!

I think I too may be a bit manic-depressive. It isn't serious but like you I see how I get so energized and motivated and can easily exhaust myself by taking on so much.

Keep the faith in your own creative cycles. xoxo k

Genie Sea said...

I'm jumping up and down from the rooftop yelling, "Jenn ROCKS!" :)

Can you hear me? :)

Not surviving, not improving, not making the absolute best of it are not options for me either!


Arty Em said...

yes - I too wonder sometimes that my ebb and flow is almost manic depressive, but as I am learning it is all good and that the peaks and valleys can be part of the path . . . thanks for your insight!

Sacred Suzie said...

I'm jumping up and down too! I think you totally rock Jenn, OMG, I'm totally writing with Genie Sea said, LOL. But it's true! We believe in you and know you're amazing.

I'm the same way with my library books and this winter is making returning books impossible!

I'm glad you are very aware that you are just going through cycles and that it's temporary, all of them. High and low creative periods. We just gotta wait sometimes and believe the energy will return. So wise!

Karley said...

I can so relate. On a light note, I am a Virgo as well and returning a library book on time is a *must* for me. My boys and I were sick last week and I forgot a book was due. I was terribly embarrassed when I was at the counter the other day and said I wanted to pay the 2 day fine on my book. I apologized up and down and handed over my 50 cents.

It was a big deal to me.

I enjoyed your post and I could relate in many ways to what you said.

Lissa said...

A little acknowledgment,(by those we hold dear) be it on rooftops or elsewhere goes a long way, doesn't it? As for everything else, I enjoyed reading your post. For I am a pisces, the fish go up & down, along with library fees:)

Jamie said...

Any time you want someone to shout from the rooftops, I am so there!

I loved your methods of coping with the void. You reminded me to add cleaning and clearing to my toolkit :)

It sounds like you've got a drive that can't be beat!

esk said...

Wow - I found that I have feelings/characteristics akin to yours - a fighter with a lot of faith!! Awesome.

D said...

You've got to have people in your life to shout your name from the rooftops for you. It's essential to being truly loved, I think.

Ditto to what everyone else has said. If you really need someone to shout for you, I'm here.

1,000 Faces of MotherHenna said...

I will gladly volunteer for shouting from the rooftops on your behalf!!! Yaaaaaahoooooooooooooooooo!

And sending you lots of Reiki for the waves of cycles... rolling along side with you...

Caroline said...

We are clearly in slightly different cycles - you no longer have the book and I've finally got hold of a copy!

I did find the book is available on-line to read via google books (I think I put a link in my posting) so if you've missed something you might try looking there - I don't know how they monitor ones reading of it or how much is available.

Striking whilst the iron is hot is well worth while. Seems like sensing those times means you know your creative cycle and actually use it rather well.

CynthiaMarie said...

I very much identified with your post. Faith, being a Virgo myself, but mostly this line:
there are some things that are just not an option for me. Things like: not improving, not surviving, not making the best of it. I may feel moments of fear and doubt, but I know in the big picture, the void is just temporary.

So true! Thanks Jenn. :)


Lisa said...

As a procrastinator, I admire your "strike while the iron is hot" attitude. I try to do that more often lately but it doesn't come naturally.

I don't like paying library fees either, but then again, paying .60 to read a good book isn't so bad.

I found a copy of the book on for about $5, including shipping.

Fatma said...

Wonderful post.

Love your list to keep inspired.

I am jumping on the rooftop too and wish for the day when you will jump for yourself too and love it.

intothedawn said...

This is a wonderful, juicy, soul searching post. Your list may not seem special, but its full of the essentials! Lots of clearing out the old to make ready for the new, and gathering new ideas. That's all important stuff! I never thought about it, but when I'm in a bit of a down time, I will organize, too. Interesting.

Jenn said...

@KathrynAntyr - I like how you re-frame fines as a donation to a worthy organization. I'm still going to do everything I can to avoid them, but it'll make them much easier to bear when I do have to pay them.

@GenieSea - I can totally hear you across the blogosphere. You are on my list for daily inspiration and pick me ups!

@ArtyEm, @CynthiaMarie, @intothedawn - Thanks for the lovely comments ladies! Glad that you found something useful there.

@SacredSuzie - Thanks for jumping up and down for me too! It didn't surprise me at all that you wrote along the same veins as Genie since you both inspire me so much!

@Karley - You get a big hug for feeling the same way over the fines. My husband tried to make me feel better over paying such a small fine, but it was a big deal to me too! I felt so much better reading your comment!

@Lissa - Yes, a little acknowledgment does go a long way!

@Jamie, @D, @MotherHenna, @Fatma - Thank you for all the love and support! I continue to be overwhelmed by this blogging community!

@esk - Yes, I often find I've got a warrior instinct in me. My warrior nature helps me get through the battles and my faith and beliefs help me pick which ones are worth continuing the fight.

@Caroline - I think the universe is balancing things out here. One of us had to give it up so that it would find its way into another blogger's home. The beginning was the best time for me to have it. I am, what I call a 'front-loader.' Now that I've got the hang of it, the bits I scanned should be just fine.

@Lisa - I often procrastinate too, which is why when the mood is there to do, I try to take full advantage of it! Good tip on the book. I might try looking to pick it up somewhere. If it's meant to come back to me, I'm sure I'll find it.

gemma said...

My library books are sometimes returned a little late....lucky I don't suffer the anxiety of fines.
It is a worthy cause. If someone else is waiting to check out those books it is inconsiderate to return them I try to get them back on time. This was thought provoking

Yvonne Rathbone said...

I loved what you said about improving and always making the best of things. What a phrase: making the best of something. We say that like it's a burden, but making the best of anything is a gift.

Kavindra said...

I'll jump up and down on the rooftop anytime for you. Hang on, I'm going up to the roof right now!

I totally agree, it's wonderful when people cheer you on and put your fur and tell you how pretty you are!

You crack me up about the library book too.

Serena said...

A wonderfully inspiring post...thank you ~ :)

Becci said...

I'm wondering who it was that reserved the book? Do you suppose she or he knows about this group? :-)

Have a great hair day no matter what creative cycle you're in! Becci