For a while now my mojo has been on the wane. I’ve still been working hard and getting things done but I had this sense of something lacking. I’ve been less present online and while I was doing lots of editing work, I felt quite dry creatively.
This was odd because I have projects I want to write, a whole queue of them actually.
I’d also noticed I wasn’t running as much. I told myself this was because of the cold but that was nonsense. I’ve run in snow and storms before (I’m a bit mad like that) and only icy conditions actually put me off.
One of the things I love about running and writing is that they’re things that feed me in some sense and I find I just go and do them, even when I’m tired or out of sorts. Afterwards I feel better. Also, if I don’t do them, I start to get grumpy. So it was alarming to me that the instinct to ‘do’ had diminished.
And *cough* the blog had been a bit neglected too. I’d actually written a couple of posts but decided against posting them. They seemed to be lacking something too.
Luckily my mojo has started coming back. I’m back to running regularly again (despite the cold!) and my productivity is climbing back to old levels. Now I’m not one for muses or mysticism but I did feel a little at the mercy of moods on this one.
Anyway the reason I wanted to write this post is that there was a hint of depression around the whole thing and I have this niggle to explore it.
This is hard.
When my mojo had gone it was like a mini depression. I was functional and enjoyed work and other aspects of life but I had a blind spot in the places that I normally like to inhabit.
I had no idea why.
Now, having come out of the other side I have more insight as to what happened but when I was in it, I was blind. And to be honest, I don’t think a rational understanding would have made a jot of difference.
So what’s my point?
Good question. Not sure. I think there are a couple of things though…
There’s a school of thought that says when you’re struggling the only thing to do is get back on the horse. Man up! Knuckle down! Stop wasting time!
Those thoughts really didn’t help. What I needed was permission to do other things and be gentle and to trust that I’d return to normal.*
I know myself well enough now that I can tell the difference between being afraid of doing something and hiding from it and there being a problem. That’s not to say I don’t forget sometimes .
I think there’s a shadow side to creativity. It’s exposing and personal and ultimately I think we all want people to love our stuff in a full on cheerleader kind of way.
It can be hard to get criticism and it can be hard to see other people ‘getting it right’ when we’re not. The problem I had was that I wasn’t just looking at one person; I was looking at the internet and creating a kind of Frankenstein’s super writer out of it. Then I’d compare myself to the super monster writer and find myself lacking.
Somebody would tweet having written a thousand million words in an hour and I’d think ‘oh, I’m not that productive.’
Then another person would talk about having got a book deal and I’d think ‘oh, I’m not that successful’.
And so on.
‘Oh, I’m not that popular.’
‘Oh, I’m not that funny.’
‘Oh, I’ll never be able to pull off prose like that.’
Ugh! Just writing this makes me squirm. But I am sharing it because I know we all struggle sometimes and it’s not talked about enough. Feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments, although if you want to keep stuff under your hat, I’ll understand.
*And a tummy rub, which I asked for and received (I’m just a cat really). Thanks Em!