I found that when I was at home, setting my own sleep patterns, unencumbered by the demands of employment and responsibility, I was able to write. I could create stories, write until the small hours past midnight. This has changed, and these are my thoughts on the Creative Mind, how it works, and why it sometimes doesn’t.
Sure there were demands on my time, I have children. There was a house to keep tidy, shopping to be done, meals to prepare. But writing could be woven into every day. We got up late, ate when we were hungry, and just lived around what needed to be done. The writing could flow from the creative mind with no problem.
Then we moved to Wales, and I got a job. The job requires me to think on my feet for three days each week (metaphorically, I sit at a desk all day). We also lost my Mum, and I have to support my Dad now. It’s not a burden, I enjoy our days out at the beach, and doing the shopping. I love spending time with my Dad.
So, of 7 days in any week, there are 3 where I have to be up early to get to work, 2 where I’m up reasonably early to take Dad out, and then there’s 2 to deal with my own life, kids, house, and garden. My job is online customer service, and every email I open, every phone call I take, is different. Each one requires creativity and thought to deal with the customer and their particular problem. It uses up the creative process, and I think the best way to describe it is like mental firefighting.
Recently, on holiday visiting friends, this came up in conversation. “Are you still writing?” and I had to say, “No, not any more, life is just too mental. I can’t get my head into it.” I miss the writing a bit, that sheer joy as the story unfolds.
The reply back, “Well, if you’re mentally firefighting at work, and dealing with other demands, where are you going to find the headspace to write?”
Makes sense to me. If the creative part of the brain is a finite resource, or needs to be worked regularly, then using it all day at work will mean there is less for recreational creativity. Whereas if the creative part is focused on words and language at work, then maybe creativity outside work needs to be different. Which would be why I feel pulled to crochet, knit, work the garden, work with images, as recreation.
These are just my thoughts on the creative mind, I am not sure if there is any research to back this up. I may ramble some more at a later date…