2005/02/15

Steel Toes = Creativity?

I posted a message to Worth about quitting the psychic biz. And while I'm, how do you say... pissed about having to go back into the real world to earn a buck, I fully admit it's my own damned fault.

Sort of.

See, sitting here at the computer all day, waiting for new questions to come in and worrying when they don't; writing what feels like the equivalent of farting at the keyboard; getting paid less for this than I would make if I just mowed lawns on the weekends... well, it's been creatively draining. Very.

In all the years I've been working, the only jobs I've enjoyed have been creative ones. Some jobs I've managed to make more bearable by finding ways to bring some amount of creativity to them. Working with wood is one of those, probably because I was trained for it on the job rather than at a school, meaning whenever I get a woodworking job I'm always flying by the seat of my pants. But I'm learning something along the way, which is the flip-side of the creativity coin. And it isn't mentally taxing, so I can still create inside while swinging a hammer.

After 37 years, I think I should just face the fact that I'm only happy when I'm creating. Writing isn't the only way I create, mind you, but it's the most satisfying for me, which is why I'm subjecting you to so many words instead of a bunch of poorly framed photos or fractals only I think are neat. I love creating, and I love writing most of all.

The thing is, since I started the psycho job all the creativity has been sapped from my body. Before this, I did pretty well as a writer. Before this, I would spend hours writing every day. Before this, if I didn't write, I'd make a pretty fractal, or compose a lousy tune, or carve a piece of wood. Whatever it took, I was compelled to get the ideas that were in me out of me. Before this, I actually had ideas. Before this, I was motivated.

For the past few years I haven't been motivated enough even to doodle at the phone. No creativity. None. This psychic crap tapped me right out. My manuscripts have been sitting on a backup CD for three years. My unfinished articles are now dated and unsalable. My editors no longer remember me. I uninstalled my art programs two years ago. I've made four lousy Photoshop entries in the past year and a few avatars. I've written one text entry in the past twelve months.

Drained.

And I know it's because of this stupid psychic job. The stress has been building since the number of questions dropped from a flood to a trickle. But even when they were flooding in I wasn't being creative, I was just less stressed about money. Something about churning out "psychic readings" completely broke my spirit. Maybe an architect assembling bicycles at a Wal-Mart or an artist painting fences for a living would understand. Not that those jobs are lowly; they're just not what someone trained otherwise would enjoy. The equation changed from Writing=Creating to Writing=Drudgery.

Okay, I guess it's my own damned fault either way. It's not like I didn't know going into it that the job description was "churn out as much pap as you can." And I knew what that sort of thing does to a person who hates churning out pap. I just chose to forget that last part because, you know, the money was good.

I did write a lot in the Worth forums. Some would say I wrote far too much. Whatever the case, that felt creative. Please don't think I'm tooting my own horn, because I'm not, but the forum-junk I wrote was mostly well received and even (to the more disturbed among you) funny. I got off on having an appreciative audience and instant feedback, and I kept writing. Your willingness to read my impossible-straw ramblings or to trade barbs with me kept me going. It's the only creative outlet I've had for years, though the creativity lay in the presentation more than anything else. Writing about a sigmoidoscopy isn't creative. Making a sigmoidoscopy sound funny is. So, for your positive feedback, I thank you. I may not have the time to hang out as much as I have been, but it's still the only site on the net worth visiting as far as I'm concerned, so I won't disappear.

Maybe, just maybe, kicking the sham-psychic game is a good thing in disguise. Maybe I can find a job I can leave at work after my shift. Maybe I'll even have some energy left over at the end of the day to, you know, create something. This depression thing brings with it some wild mood swings, but when I'm not longing for a rope and a tall tree I sometimes feel rather optimistic about restarting my writing career. I'm actually thinking about digging out the old manuscripts and starting some new ones. I actually have plots going through my head again. I actually have some article ideas I might pitch in a couple of months once I've dug us out of this money hole we're in.

Am I excited? No, not yet. There's a lot to do before I reach that point. But I see a tiny bit of silver lining peeking through. I feel just a smidgen of creativity seeping into my brain.

Or maybe I'm just farting at my keyboard again. It's hard to tell. I've been lying to idiots on the other end of the hotline for so long I'm not even sure I know how to be honest with myself anymore. But maybe....

Keep reading. Maybe I'll actually get back into the game and get some fiction published this time. If so, you can bet I'll mention it. Maybe you'll be able to watch me overachieve for once. :D
Comments:
If you write it, I'll read it. I think you are a fantastic writer. If a change in career will help you to be more creative, and more importantly, if it will make you happy, then you should go for it. Remember, surviving and living are two different thinks. When you concentrate too much on surviving, you sometimes forget to live, and that's when life starts to suck. Good luck in your new endeavor! If you need a reference, let me know. ;-)

-lette
 
Your keyboard farts are way better than most of the stuff I get to read nowdays. So, you keep that up, mister!
 
I MISS YOU! Do you possibly think that you could finish with the inspiration anytime soon? For me??

Ok, ok, that was selfish. Be inspired, write things, make monies, blah blah blah, just hurry, 'loot. I didn't realize how much I would miss your sarcasm and wit, you long haired hippy. :-P
 
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