There are some creative projects which bring you to your knees, force you to question your motives, present you with obstacles and make you want to run away.
I am trying to tell myself that these are special projects and perhaps I should view them as gifts….that keep on giving! Sigh!
There are 5 stages of progressing through your creative suffering and reaching the magical moment where you whisper to yourself “I have got to keep going!”
- Creative suffering. You are up to your eyeballs in creative suffering! This project of yours is giving you nothing but creative pain. You have not made any progress on it for days and smiling seems like a distant memory. This is the stage where chocolate, coffee and cheesecake become your new best friends. Loved ones give you a wide berth and pets cast you an odd look, as you assume the dreaded foetal position, on the floor beside your writing desk, whimpering about how bad your fourth chapter sounds.
- Inner Turmoil. If this stage was part of a film, you, the hero / heroine, would be sat in a deserted Jazz bar, wearing a forlorn facial expression and asking the barman for his finest whisky. It’s time for inner conflict! There is no more cheesecake or tissues left in your house, so you start to question your reasons for embarking on this painful creative project. You knew writing a romcom novel was going to be a tall order with your ever changing emotions. In view of your emotional state why didn’t you just opt to write something serious like Sci-Fi? This inner turmoil inevitably leads onto a general re-evaluation of your creative career so far, which doesn’t end well. During this stage you can expect to take some solitary walks in the rain, long periods of staring into space and some quality time soaking (till you look a prune) in the bath.
- Quit Everything. This is the stage where you decide to quit everything including your project! It feels really good to stand and shout “I QUIT!” so this stage can get quite noisy. You then start lie to yourself and create another reality in your head where your creative project meant nothing to you. With a nod you tell yourself that your now 60k word second draft will be easy to ditch! It’s not like you will spend the rest of your life wondering what would have happened if you had worked on it! No! Still smiling at your own fantasy you conclude that creative life ambitions are meant to stay fluid and constantly change…aren’t they? Yes they are! After convincing yourself that you can walk away from your creative project you do so muttering stuff like “good-bye and good riddance!” and “I am going to get my life back – hell yea!”
- Change your mind about quitting everything. This stage is where you realise that you can’t quit, because your ex-creative project won’t leave you alone. It refuses to get out of your brain and insists on appearing on a random basis throughout your day. This can be an infuriating stage so prepare for some frustrated screams, some frantic bulk buying of more cheesecake and some desperate photos recording your suffering being uploaded onto Instagram.
- Magical moment. This is the stage where you come to the conclusion that you can’t go back to your earlier stages of creative suffering, you can’t eat anymore chocolate or cheesecake, nor can you quit your project, so the only thing left to do is to whisper “I have got to keep going!” It is a magical moment for both you and your creative project.
I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Regular readers of my blog – I promise not to moan about my second draft anymore.