Wednesday, November 09, 2011
The other day I read an article about certainty by Sarah Wilson (Sunday Age). She'd been inspired by a book called Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields, and said: "I became aware of how often my anxiety around uncertainty prevents me from creating freely..." Which caught my interest - isn't it uncertainty and doubt that often causes writer's block? Or at least stops us from facing up to the blank page?
In her article she also talked about how she'd discovered many creative people lead "ritualised" lives - eating the same things, getting up at the same time, following the same routines - because that steadiness, that certainty in their everyday lives meant that the uncertainty that comes with creating is much easier to face. This got me thinking about how often I hear people say they haven't been able to write because they've been too busy or life has been too hectic.
What is "too busy" really? Is it that every hour of your day is so totally filled with obligations and chores and duties and work that you don't have time to write? Or is it, as Wilson and Fields suggest, that the chaos of being busy and disorganised and always rushing creates so much uncertainty (or stress or angst or whatever you want to call it) that mentally you cannot find a place where writing will happen?
There's a cliche that if you want to get something done, ask a busy person. What lies beneath this is simply that a busy person who gets a lot done is simply very organised because they have to be. It's logical. Also a busy, organised person is often more able to say No because they are aware of whether they really do have the time and energy or not. Many of us don't say No because of guilt, but also because we often don't understand where our time goes and can't come up with a way of saying No and meaning it!
I like the idea of creativity coming from uncertainty - I feel it every time I sit down to write, and it's a relief to know it's normal. But I also like the idea that ordering the rest of my life with lists and prioritising and a visual diary is what allows me to create more, and create with less anxiety. I know that since I began my MFA studies this year, I have never worked harder or more consistently! But in a weird way, I've been less stressed because I've stuck with my priority job lists, and it's kept me off emails and time-wasting stuff. The one thing that has been stressful was maybe something I should have said No to, but I've learnt from that as well.
So, where do certainty and uncertainty sit in your creative life?
Posted by Sherryl at Wednesday, November 09, 2011