Sunday, 29 July 2012

Coming full circle - creative refuelling

My life has been a writing desert of late.

For the last two months the day job has required every ounce of energy I have, creeping into evening and weekends with the insidiousness of a deathwatch beetle in the rafters.  I've been writing, but not creatively.  I've been writing strategies and proposals, letters and reports.  I've been propping my eyelids up with matchsticks and crawling into bed without the energy for much more than two pages of Game of Thrones.

Then came the stress.  A red wall of stress that blinkered me from all but what was unfolding immediately before me.  It hasn't been very nice, but there you go.  

Flash fictions contests have come and gone, my novel sits unwritten.  I feel guilty.  I feel like I'm letting down critique partners and writing groups, and moreover, letting down myself.  I'm desperate to put pen to paper but I'm too tired and I don't have any creative words left in my. My characters are getting dusty in my head. 

Luckily, my sister turned up this weekend and she had a commission.

It's a little known fact that my sister is an up and coming knitwear designer.  Like me, she has a day job.  Like me, she reads romances.  Unlike me, she's producing and published (Knit Now!).  And because she's producing, she needs her work photographing.

Which is where I come in.

It's a little known fact (yeah I know, I'm full of them) that before I took up writing, I had for three years devoted myself to learning photography.  I learnt it to the extent I became a part time wedding photographer.    I had the gear, I had the website, and damn it, I actually got paid.

Dream stuff right? 

Unfortunately, running a photography business alongside a day job and a family is kind of impossible if you want a life and turning my hobby into a service business took the fun away.  The urge to write again was growing in me, so bye bye photography, hello writing.  Only like riding a bike, you don't forget. 

A suspicious look from my little sister

So this weekend I dusted off my camera and started to snap.  And what's more, I looked at my photography website for the first time in six months and realised it needed an overhaul.  In fact, I got so stuck into the world of playing with pixels and redesigning my website that hours passed and suddenly I realised an important thing....

I'd gotten creative. 

And it felt like I was coming back to life.  

There's a funny thing about doing something, anything, creative - from cooking to music, from knitting to painting, it all cross fertilises

Yesterday I started sketching on my (new) ipad.  Before I knew it I was sketching characters and weaving stories for them to live in.  

Ipad sketching (named  Fire Lady Perla by my pre-schooler)

Today I was engrossed in a photoshoot - and again, it's a kind of storytelling. 

It all cross fertilises. 

A wise lady once said to me that one should redefine oneself by themes, not by activities.  So, instead of saying: "I like painting," think about what it is about painting that does it for you.  Is it playing with ideas?  Or capturing something precisely?  Is it getting messy, or learning something new?  

Because nothing does it for you forever.  At some point you may dry up... at that point you should feel free to turn elsewhere and to explore.  To develop your worlds in other spheres and be comfortable and confident that at some point, it will all come full circle again.

I can be an artist, a writer, a photographer, a cook, a mother, a worker, a gardener (well no, not that)... the only important thing is that I'm me. 

If you want to see more of what I'm up to visually, feel free to pop on over to Cocoa Rose Boutique Photography to visit! 


Incy Black said...

Glad to see you are getting your mojo back. Don't lose it again. Great post.

Rainbow said...

Thank you for sharing, dear heart.

A lot of us, I think, feel overwhelmed with responsibilities right now and are struggling to find the energy and time for our creative pursuits. These are test times for us to push through the frustration and reassess our lives so that we can make more room for them.

I'm pleased you managed to do that sooner rather than later. :-)


Unknown said...

Welcome back, Meg.

For the record, when defined by theme I'm a storyteller. Always have been.

Lisa Shambrook said...

Your Landscape photographs are stunning. Wonderful photography and writing talents!

Meg McNulty said...

Thank you for all your lovely comments - they totally make my day.

Mike - I love your self assessment and concur!

Rachel said...

LOve this post meg x

Unknown said...

This is beautiful. It is refreshing to see how you were able to transform. You put into words what I feel.