There is a funny thing about people who put time into their creative endeavours. We do it because we love it, and we do it because it makes us feel good, but somehow there is still so much pressure we put on ourselves to constantly create.
I’ve found this especially in cases where I am doing work for myself. If I want to improve a skill for myself, I beat myself up for taking a day off, or even half a day.
Which is strange. Because no one is telling me I have to paint ten portraits in a day. Keep up a writing schedule. Constantly learn. Practice your mindfulness. Don’t forget yoga. I mean, who needs to eat and shower and watch a bit of YouTube, am I right?
No dear friends, I am not.
Which I constantly have to remind myself. That it’s okay to take a step back. Do nothing. Just exist. No matter how much I feel obliged to pick up a paintbrush for the sixth time that day.
The thing is, we start out with good intentions. As I said, we indulge in our hobbies because it brings us joy, we like to do them. The problem only occurs with creatives like me, who pressure themselves to be better and better with no end goal or even reason for doing so. I am killing myself over not practicing my tarot when I’ve spent five hours working on my novel. Or feeling like a failure when I’ve skipped a yoga session in lieu of painting landcapes.
I’ve come to realise that while none of my activities are causing me stress, my approach to them absolutely does.
If I’m doing something in order to make me happy, it shouldn’t be a requirement on my to-do list. I should be gravitating towards them when I need them, when I want to relax, when I simply feel like doing it. No one is putting a time limit on my progress. A measure on my quality of enjoyment.
No one except myself of course. Which I’m now trying to change. Trying to give myself a break, now and then, just to be. Not to feel pressured to create something tangible. Let myself breathe. And in turn it will let me enjoy my favourite pass-times. They will go back to being the relaxing outlets they once were.
I guess I’m saying that this feeling is liberating enough to write a whole blog post about. So maybe give it a try.