Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating While on Vacation

I recently returned from vacation feeling exhausted, frazzled and depressed. I had so many creative plans and goals during what I thought would be quiet down-time during my week in Carmel, California.
Prior to the trip, I was probably on the best writing roll of my life. My kids are currently on summer vacation and being able to sleep an extra hour feels like sheer heaven! I took the opportunity to implement one of Eric Maisel’s creating tips: write the first thing each morning. It was going well with constant minor tweaks, (no e-mailing, stop loading the dishwasher) but overall I’ve been able to write on a regular basis.

The Carmel vacation is an annual trip. The company I work for owns a beautiful, spacious house in a gated community. All the employees have the privilege of booking the house for up to a week at a time. For my family, vacations are the last thing on the budget list and do you ever get to the last thing on your list? Thus, our annual trek to Carmel is a godsend.

The beauty of staying in a house is that you can pack pretty light. I’m grateful for a washing machine, even though I’d prefer not to do laundry on vacation. Regardless, it makes for effortless packing for a week away. Carmel is a pretty laid back town and we usually spend the week sleeping in and coming back to the house early. I added my notebook, pens of various colors, the book I was currently reading and the one I wanted to read next, knowing I’d be sure to finish the first one. Oh wait, how about my sketchpad? Sure it’s been years since I’ve drawn, but it will help to unlock my creativity even further. My current knitting project will keep my hands busy while I’m in deep thought conjuring masterpieces in my head.

Before I know it, my suitcase is crammed full of creativity! Well, really it’s my gym bag but now I can’t zip it closed. So I’m forced to move on to a brown paper bag. Maybe I can pilfer some of my son’s colored pencils in case I get the urge to be colorful! Sadly, all the best plans and things that would be accomplished were quashed like a lightening bug!

First of all, this was the first time my Mom and sister were able to join us. I felt like I had to be a great host for them. I felt “on” like I had to move along the conversations, tell funny stories and make sure everyone was happy and comfortable. If I sat in a corner, silent, creating, I felt like I would be viewed as rude. Wasn’t I supposed to be spending time with my family? Each day, I did have a great time, but I could feel myself slipping into a deeper depression. Ironically, I felt guilty for wanting to be alone and guilty for having fun instead of doing the work I had promised to complete.

Needless to say, I came home feeling confused about the commitments to myself and the people I love. How much can I give and how much can I keep for myself without feeling so guilty? This is an ongoing challenge that I don’t expect to have the answers to anytime soon. What I did take away from my failed vacation of creativity is that I am at a point in my artistic life where creating is beyond a hobby. It’s a necessity. For now I’ll take solace in that. If I’m this troubled, I am truly becoming a writer!

More next week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you might need a solo creativity vacation! Ha. I know exactly what you mean about good intentions getting sidetracked, I've definitely been there.