Creating Time

Posted on January 20, 2023
Takes about 3 minutes to read

For my birthday, my partner put together the sweetest, most thoughtful surprise I could ever imagine. She recognized that I had been in a complete creative rut the previous year. I'd complain that I work too much, play too little. I'm too tired. Way too busy. This, that, and the other thing is blocking my time. Sometimes I would straight up conclude that I'm just not good at anything—a collaboration between imposter syndrome and plateauing.

I'd often sink into the couch after a long day instead of logging time towards hobbies or creative projects. All day screen time had frazzled my mind. But then I'd follow up with more of it, doomscrolling on my phone or gazing at the television. Not a lot was being accomplished outside of work hours.

While I did play my guitar a good amount, I never completed any song arrangements. Last year I convinced myself to blog more, my goal set on writing a post every month or at least six articles in 2022. I acheived the latter, which I'm proud of, but maybe, maybe, I could have put more effort into my original milestone of twelve posts.

Anyway, returning to where I began: On my birthday, my partner reveals that she booked a house where we would be staying with some close friends and family. To sprinkle on even more excitement, the property she booked includes a music studio with a drumkit ready for rockin’. I haven't been able to sit behind the drums for several years (blame the pandemic, me moving around a bunch, drums simply being too loud to play in a condo, etc.) so this news was absolutely thrilling.

The people brought together for this getaway were selected based on a few magical moments throughout my life's musical journey. I have reminisced about week-long writing/recording sessions, staying up all night arranging tracks, playing take after take to get it right, and never letting exhaustion from the work day stop me. My partner understands how music lifts my spirit. Her gathering these folks for three nights of jamming was the greatest way to kick off a new year.

I don't necessarily desire to chase new year resolutions. However, this music trip felt like a solid step towards—forgive me for saying it—changing my tune. I'm going to refocus my time and play more. I'll complete that song arrangement I've left fragmented. I'll write brand new ones. I'll make things out of clay, build with legos, draw, write, and take better care of my creative brain. All the while, I will remind myself that it's okay to be in a creative rut from time to time.

Along with this week's jam sessions, I've also started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It's only week one, but I've been writing three pages each morning, pouring out stream of consciousness via pen on paper. The idea is to connect the mind and body, writing longhand to declutter brain space before starting the day. Doesn't matter what I'm jotting down. Just write.

Once I really embraced these morning pages, I discovered that I feel accomplished, calm, and clear-headed. Other discoveries: My hand cramps up very quickly and my handwriting looks like garbage.

It doesn't matter.

This is not for anyone to read. It's not even something I plan to reflect back on. I'm looking forward to filling every page in that notebook and then promptly tossing it in the trash, moving on to the next one.

So what's next? Here's are some things I would like to be doing more, starting right now:

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2 replies
  • Michelle Barker
    @hexagoncircle I can definitely empathise with the create rut thing. This music getaway sounds like a dream! 💖
  • Ryan Mulligan
    @michelle It was a total dream! Makes me so happy to share the joy of jamming with such great people