The Back Burner

For the past four weeks I have been working through the Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Today however I wanted to talk about some thoughts I had while working through Chapter 4.

I don’t really know what to say about this week other than god damn I hated it*. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the amount of creativity I was feeling and all these things I was working out and planning. Then the realization that it was all a little too much and I needed to a. cut something and b. give myself some slack. The thing is, I can do all the things I want-I have the time and energy. I just need to work out how to do them all without getting overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Some things during the beginning stages are going to need a little more time and focus. Meaning that other things, that have been huge in my life up until this point, might be put on the back burner for a while. One of those things is photography.

That was a huge surprise to me when I wrote it out in my morning pages**. Photography and my blog have been two of my biggest creative focuses for years. Photos especially is something I've done since I was 11-12. Over the years it's been something I come and go from, in most recent years it’s been my main focus and I’ve realized some important things with that focus. I don't have the capacity to be a professional photographer. There’s nothing to be said for it other than it’s not for me. Photography will always be a hobby, one I can come back to when I feel the need to express myself through a self portrait or when I want to showcase something with a blog post. But that desire has been a struggle lately. The amount of times I’ve cheated when it comes to my 365 Project this year is actually sad and my self portrait game just isn’t what it use to be. Originally I had hoped that by exchanging my Nikon for a smaller more compact camera, that could fit in my pocket easier, would lead to finding my creative mojo back. For a time I did. My little Sony was a fantastic investment and one I will treasure and use for years to come. However the need to express in a different way is stronger than my desire to pick up the camera.

Photography isn’t the only hobby of mine that’s been moved to the back burner. Reading has too. I think this will change sooner than the photography bug but who knows. When we first moved to Wisconsin it took me a year to gear myself back up to reading a 100 books in a year. So I just expected that to be the same for this year. Here we are at the end of July and I have read exactly 60 books. I should be well over 75 to hit the goal of 150 and that’s definitely not going to happen. Audiobooks are to partial blame for this. They allow me to multitask and reading a book doesn’t. But it isn’t the only thing. I’m more interested in reading non-fiction than fiction and the issue with non-fiction is that they usually aren’t quick and easy reads like fantasy is. The books I’ve been buying are on topics that have sparked my interest. These are just a few:

Read

  • Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski - a book on sex that I really enjoyed. There are a few things in this book that I were not aware of. It was eye opening. I didn’t have access to sex education as a child but it’s not even really about the sex aspect. A better understanding of how my body works is useful… read review here.

  • More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux, Eve Rickert, Tatiana Gill, and M Scarsella - while I have no interest in the lifestyle, it is a topic I would like to be better versed in and supportive of those in it. This book is more than just a book on polyamory though, it’s a book about building good relationships with people you love based on trust, communication, and a desire to better yourself as a human being… read review here.

  • The ABC’s of LGBT by Ashley Mardell - this book has actually been on my to buy list for far too many years. I follow Ash on YouTube and they have been a huge part of my education when it comes to sexuality, identity, and understanding myself and others… read review here.

  • Child Free by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family & Creating a New Age of Independence by Dr. Amy Blackstone - I wanted a lot more from this book than I got… read review here.

  • Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World by Michelle Cassandra Johnson - If you are a student of yoga or a teacher, especially a white teacher. This book is a must read.

Not Yet Read

  • On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual by Merle Miller, Charles Kaiser, and Dan Savage

  • Pen and Ink Drawing: A Simple Guide by Alphonso Dunn (and workbook)

  • Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques by James Hynes (started)

  • What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About by Michele Filgate

  • The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman (started)

  • Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

There is nothing wrong with losing interest in something that was and still might be dear to you. A lost interest doesn’t mean forever gone. Maybe it means it’s evolved into something new or as mentioned above placed on the back burner to give something else a try for a while. It feels like it’s time for me to put a few of my expectations in regards to photography and reading aside and focus on the other creative things I’ve been craving. They will both be there when I need it.

How do you handle creative overwhelm?

*hate it is probably too strong of a word for what I am meaning. My week overall was fantastic, what I hated was the emotions and realizations brought up by the tasks in Chapter 4 of the Artists Way.

**Morning Pages is a daily task recommended by the Artists Way. It is suppose to be the first thing you do in the morning. Sit down in the quite and write three pages of whatever.

I'm a lifestyle blogger, covering deep subjects including body images, battles with food, and overcoming how I was raised. I try to be as authentic as possible and I don’t sugar coat how I see things.