Saturday, September 8, 2012

Keeping Busy

Joyce Carol Oates made the comment, "'Keeping busy' is the remedy for all the ills in America.  It's also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed."

This is a busy time of year - and will only escalate until the end of the year.  Getting kids back to school, resuming our usual schedules that might have been broken over the summer, preparing for upcoming holidays - the demands seem endless.  And with the cooler weather we have the energy to keep up with all this externally driven busyness.

Do you notice a drop in your creativity level?  When I have times that are not filled every moment, I'm surprised by what comes out of me.  When I go on vacation, I find myself drawn to doing types of painting that I don't usually do.  If I take a retreat during the year, a whole other set of ideas come bubbling out, as if I've just released a top on a selzer bottle that was shaken.

When I'm constantly busy, running from my babysitting, to meetings, to preparing lessons, to keeping up with online tasks, to various community involvements, I find that I'm only capable of putting out some small familiar work.  It doesn't feel very original or exciting.  It may be "nice" enough, but it isn't coming from a place of depth.

I talked a little about this a few weeks ago, using a quote from Brenda Ueland.    But I bring the topic up again, because I think it is so important at this time of year to try to preserve little oases of quiet for ourselves.  Getting busy can become habit, where we use adrenaline like a drug.  I'll probably bring it up again, little reminders for myself and maybe others so we can sustain our best creative lives.


  1. So true. I've been an artist for over thirty years but as I head into my 17th year of motherhood I feel that I need a time to recharge my creativity. It's tough!

  2. Thank you for this well-needed reminder. I also find that when I'm on vacation things come out of my head that I wouldn't otherwise think of. It's so easy for that to fall to the bottom of a busy schedule.

  3. I am experiencing this now. With the recent changes in my life I have had many new demands on my time. I'm finding it difficult to carve out any studio time and it is taking it's taken a toll on my creativity. This is a good reminder to make the time.