I am exhausted. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Creatively.
And who isn’t?
This artist’s life is not easy. When you are pushing (forcing) your creative work through with what energy you have left after toiling at a day job (fact: even if you love your day job, it becomes toil because you should/would rather be writing your book, crafting your screenplay, painting your canvas, perfecting a song or molding your clay), there comes a point where you will utterly flatline.
I am at that point.
A malingering malaise creeps in and nothing (productive) gets done. This is different than a creative block. This is different than depression. This is depletion. This is the embodiment of meh.
I am meh.
This is not a complaint or an invitation to a pity party, a cry for help or support. It’s a statement of sad fact. (Spoiler alert: This, too, shall pass.)
Let’s be real: The end of the year/first of the year is basically a four-month block of meh. There is so much to do/get done with so many deadlines (many of which are tax related and how fun is that?), so the meh I feel at the mo’ should be of no surprise. It’s not, really. But it is disappointing.
I thought I would have my third novel done by now.
I thought I would have more accomplished with the L.A.L.A. Society by now.
I thought I’d have my podcast set up by now.
I thought I would have seen The Wife by now.
I thought I would be in my new life by now.
None of what I thought I would do, be or have by now has come to fruition. And so what? The true job of life is to fuck up your plans. It keeps you on your toes. It opens up new avenues and unexpected inspiration.
It can also piss you off.
Let’s call it out: Anyone who makes the creative life look easy has a trust fund, a spouse/life-partner to share the financial burden and/or is on some sort of amphetamine. Seriously. This shit is hard. It is not Instagrammable. (And Instagrammable should not be recognized by spell check.) It is a lot of work with a lot of work piled on top of it.
And, still, it’s the only thing we really want to do, no matter how challenging it might be. So when we are too depleted to do it, it’s an absolute turd burger. It’s horrid to really want to do something and simply not have the mojo to do it.
Churchill said, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going!” The problem for me is that I want to rush and run and hurry-the-fuck-up to get to the other side. Instead, what actually needs to happen is for me to take a nice, leisurely stroll. Slow down (which is beyond counterintuitive because, when I get home, I become an inert lump). Allow the energy to be restored.
In other words: Stop fucking pushing so hard.
But, as artists, we don’t know how to do that. The next project (or three) is fighting to get out. We are rushing to get through this one so we can get on to the next and the next because there is always so much to do. And that’s kind of wonderful. As well as insane.
There’s really no way to pace yourself when you are an artist. You have to work when the muse speaks. But if she’s a yappy broad, like mine is, it’s hard to take a break until you find yourself broken down.
That’s where I am now — on the proverbial side of the road, sitting there with an empty tank. And the only thing that’s going to refuel it is time.
And this is where patience would come in handy.