After logging into WordPress, I zoom straight the Freshly Pressed section. I may find a new blog to follow, but most of the time the ones by writer usually serve as a pick me up. Usually their downs, along with their ups, helps me to not go over the self-deprecating rails. One blog entry from Michelle Stodden-my attempts to charm the wilful pen held particular resonance. Her Freshly Pressed entry-Stripped of My Desire to Create-sums up my frustration staring at my own blank screen. I confess her photo of Slim Goodbody brought back some memories of my own childhood, but one part of her post brought me back to the present:
I think my work is draining me of all my creative spunk. I love my boss and I am truly grateful to have a great job, but the endless corporate paperwork and red-tape and mounds of billing and unbelievably dense people wear me down. By the time I arrive home, I’m a mental zombie.
It’s hard to sit in front of this laptop and try to think of something. If I write my fiction, I want to write this blog. If I want to write this blog, I think of fiction. In a strange way running keeps me focused. To still my mind as it runs on like a hamster on a wheel, I have to move my feet. Weird I know.
As far as work goes, it just the people-intensive aspect I have to watch. People enter the library profession for two reasons. One is we like to help. Don’t know something? Librarians and Library Technicians help a person find what they are looking for, and show them how to find it themselves. (In a nutshell it’s the teach-a-person-to-fish philosophy.) The other reason involves learning new things for ourselves. I don’t know if audio-visual troubleshooting will happen to a character in a novel. Will they know how to initialize a Canon camcorder to internal memory instead of memory card in case of zombie apocalypse? (Someone has to document the event.) Perhaps one of my favourite reference questions came from a grad student in Medical research asking for an article, title long since forgotten, from a journal entitled Small Ruminant Research. The student had trouble getting it, I found out the problem, and then wondered what the heck?
A little digging lead to this:
Small Ruminant Research publishes original, basic and applied research articles, technical notes, and review articles on research relating to goats, sheep, deer, the New World camelids llama, alpaca, …
From that day forward I learned to hope for the unexpected. It usually comes along at a great time to gently push creativity forward. It also comes along at great time to not make work seem like….well…work.
While I have a look at Freshly Pressed for inspiration, I try not to hope to get on the coveted list. It’s not low expectation. For a little while I took up the challenges, crossed my fingers, and remade my blog to hopefully get on. For what? Writers as a group not only grapple with procrastination, a trait pretty much shared by everyone, but insecurity; a trait also shared by everyone. We compare and contrast only forget to create if I may borrow from poet William Blake. I have done both for far too long in my life. Trying to look at things through my own eyes not my work, my family, my religion, or my past is a bit like getting used to new contact lenses. (Something I went through over the past two weeks.)
In the end why do people writing, knitting, or painting do the things they do? It’s the drive to create keeping people going. It doesn’t have to just be those three things. Ask anyone who runs or bikes? They enter this race or that race to push beyond a comfort zone. Falling into a rut happens if a person simply goes through the motions. Once that happens it only takes changing one thing to make the world look new again.
Go find that one thing.