2019 is coming to a close in little more than a month. It's been a long, difficult year for a lot of reasons, but I also had a sort-of plan for what these last couple of months would be like - a plan that kind of fell away when school finally finished. The survival mode of senior year was there (soul-crushing, of course), and then just gone. Despite the difficulties, it was also a year of creativity for me, or at least the first six months. I accomplished things that were grandly outside the box of what I thought I could do. I thought this last portion of the year would be about the next step, whether that be strictly career-oriented or spending time cultivating my interests.
But really? I spend most of my time going to work part-time at the same job I had in school and scrolling through social media. Occasionally, I make time to read or color, but I'm no longer pushing myself to create the way I was months ago. Part of it is definitely burnout and simply enjoying my life without homework, studying, exams, and Canvas - but at some point it has to let up. I have to make that happen.
I've been in quite a dry spell, creatively. It's easy to blame myself and call it laziness, but I think the problem is that I'm just feeling stagnant. Stifled. I still carry around my poetry notebook with me everywhere in hopes I might feel inspired or find a moment to write. Engaging in any kind of work is a choice, even if it's your passion. And sometimes, that choice can feel impossible to make, like a roadblock. It's easier to walk away.
Mental resistance might be the hardest sort. No one else is inside your head to hold you accountable. Our ego presents a great challenge when it wants to protect us, and fear can have us paralyzed and turning away faster than most things.
I often feel overwhelmed just considering making notes on a possible project. My pen becomes a thousand pounds. My mind swims in a million other directions. What was I thinking about again? This is too hard. There's always something more interesting. There's always tomorrow. That fear comes from knowing success is hardly ever immediate, and if I choose to begin something, it will be an investment. Just the act of imagining and exploring something seems too much if I know it won't come out perfect the first time (which never happens, as we all know). And in that moment, I'm standing in my own way.
The number one cure for this paralysis and self-sabotage is momentum. Get going. Start something. Finish something. Tell someone your plans, so you have an accountability partner. Make a list. Start a clean page, or halfway down an old one, if the stark lines make you anxious. Get excited again - and soon enough, you'll remember why you loved it in the first place. Creative work can be unforgiving in the physical world, daunting and oft-overlooked. But that rush of exaltation, maybe euphoria, of watching your own work come together is one of the greatest feelings. A new decade is coming, but let's not wait.