This is my first post in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, hosted here.
My theme this year is exploring the link between mental health and creativity. See my stance on this here.
A is for Acceptance.
I have seen so many comments, quotes, memes, jokes, etc. about writers being alcoholics, or functioning on no sleep, or any number of other self-destructive behaviors. As if being creative also means being angsty and neurotic and messed up. It's almost like there is a culture of "my pain makes me cool."
I won't discount the fact that sometimes your struggles are precisely what grow you and make you dig deep. I've written a lot of powerfully emotional stuff when I was in the grips of depression or severe anxiety. And when I started recovering and changing, part of me was scared to death.
Because I had started to buy into that culture of "moody writer," and I thought if I'm not damaged, then I won't be able to write... I won't have that well to pull from or that motivation to pour it all out on the page.
But that wasn't true. The truth was all of that crap that I was pulling from was actually holding me back. I had to accept that there was a better way to live. And that mean finding a better way to express myself.
After I moved past that hurdle, I found that my writing got better. But not only that, it got easier. It was like unblocking the flow of creativity. Ideas came more naturally and I now rarely have to struggle to get words on the page.
Its scary sometimes, to let go of the thing that has motivated you for so long. But in doing so, you might find something better.
I think writers--and any creative types--need to take care of themselves. As a society in general we are terrible at this. However when we are juggling a full time job, and a family, and also trying to build a creative career our focus can get narrow. We can start operating from a place of desperation where we don't pay attention to what we are doing to ourselves.
Step one is to accept the fact that taking care of your physical and mental/emotional needs is the most important thing.
Even more important than putting words on the page.