The perfect gift for a writer

Yesterday I was given a wonderful gift, perfect for every writer. It wasn’t wine, flowers, or a new notebook.

What do all writers need? Time to write of course, and a spurt of creative energy. My wonderful gift gave me both.

For me creative energy is my new currency, vying with money for importance. Having enough money allows me to buy and do things. I generally have enough to meet my day-to-day needs because I work full-time, but this means I’m often depleted of creative energy. I need creative energy to write, and think about what I’m going to write. In addition to writing, I also use creative energy to organise family activities, plan and cook meals, and enable a fulfilling, enlivened relationship with my partner.

Money/work/creativity are in a constant three-way arm-wrestle.

My creative energy is depleted by fatigue, stress and overwork. Last week I was offered an overtime shift which I turned down, because I know working six days straight comes with a cost to my creativity.

I replenish my creative energy by spending time in nature, exercising, having some time to myself. It’s also self-perpetuating in that the more creative things I do the more creative energy I have. Going to the theatre, an exhibition or other creative excursion also lifts my creativity, as do social events and conversations provided I’m not tired. Inspiration is everywhere when I have the energy to recognise it.

Being given creative energy and time was my perfect gift. It was presented as a hamper containing lime, capsicum, carrots, mushroom, coriander, bean sprouts, tofu, coconut milk and homemade laksa paste. Everything sliced, chopped and ready, for a fresh, delicious family meal. Today I did’t need to plan a meal and go shopping; I’ve been given more time and more creative energy. I can sit, and write, for a few extra hours. Thank you.

I’d love to hear your tips for replenishing creativity!

Happy birthday

My birthday always involves some introspection. Today I’ve had additional time to  introspect as circumstances have led me to spend much of the day alone. It’s been great, and unnerving.

My birthday heralds an annual mid-life mini crisis. This year may become a mid-life medium or monumental crisis. It’s still evolving, pending my capacity to progress it or quash it.

I think a mid-life crisis generally might include changing homes and jobs. With my skills in self-diagnosis I have concluded that I am at risk. This afternoon with my husband I raised the prospect of our moving to the country. My poor shift-working husband, hit with this when he’d only just awoken and was yet to be caffeinated. After he left for work this evening I further developed my crisis, only just refraining from calling up a friend to ask her to refer me for a new job in the country. But sensibly, I’ll only need that new job if we do move to the country.

Sensibly . . . sensible. Every year after my birthday I sensibly suppress the crisis.

My husband and I have good jobs, we live in a good suburb, close to work and the kids’ schools. Choosing to be sensible is one way to suppress the crisis. But I have other methods. Other tools in my tool-belt include practicing gratitude for what I have; minor distractions like Facebook, watching TV and reading; and major distractions such as undertaking a university degree while working full time (guaranteed to reduce the time available to ruminate existentially).

Distracting myself, pushing additional information into my brain, or perhaps the occasional wine to relax my mind all help ensure there’s no time or inclination to ponder life and its overall direction. All of this can work, except when it’s my birthday.

I’m possibly due for a mid-life crisis. I’ve previously had an earlyish-life crisis. A monumental one, but the outcome was fantastic. I went out into the desert on a holiday and decided to never go back home. A story for another day.

image courtesy of @finnmacfee