Monday, July 17, 2017

My Creative Battery

I hadn’t figured out until recently that I function on several different batteries. Maybe all of you already knew this and I’m just slow, but I thought I’d share anyway in case there is someone else out there who hasn’t yet figured out all their batteries. Here’s how I finally grouped mine:
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Adulting
  • Creativity

My Physical Battery gives me the ability to stay awake during the day and move my body through all its physical needs. My Emotional Battery controls how well I tolerate frustrations throughout the day. My Adulting Battery keeps me charged for all the responsibilities I have to accomplish in any given day: get the kid to school/activities, walk the dog, make dinner, do the laundry, etc. My Creative Battery is what I use for writing and all other activities that require creativity.

Of course, this would be the optimal state:

The thing I’ve discovered recently is that these batteries drain and recharge at different rates. In addition, if I need more in one of the ‘key’ areas—such as my Physical Battery—I have to drain some of the others. Lately, my battery capacity has looked a lot like this:

Certainly, there is fluctuation in this model from day to day, but I’d say this has been a good average for me over the last year. I knew my creativity was suffering—not that I wasn’t feeling creative anymore, just that it took an extreme amount of effort to pull it out of my head. Writing was slow and forced. I’d sit for hours trying to figure out what to do for my scheduled blog post. All the things I need to do to run my author business—marketing, social media, events, newsletter, etc.—also come from this tank.  A few months ago I ran a fitness challenge for my gym and it tapped out all of my remaining creative juice. All of my writing related responsibilities took a huge hit because I had nothing else left in the tank.

So what to do? How could I recharge it?

I tried to pull from some of my other batteries, but that didn’t work. All it did was add ‘lazy and cranky’ to my ‘uncreative’ characterization.

I tried to be creative in other areas, hoping that once I started it would generate new creative juice. I’d spend time with my daughter in the craft room. I’d read a lot, as that often inspires my creativity. The result—just more drainage of what little creative juice I did have left in the tank.

It took my daughter’s summer break to make me realize what I needed—SLEEP! Over the past year, I averaged between 5 and 5.5 hours of sleep 6 out of 7 nights. It was apparently enough to keep my Physical Battery at a functional level, but that was it. But even that battery was in danger. There were a few nights where I was so tired it felt like my bones hurt. Days when I’d be falling asleep in a doctor’s waiting room. Mornings when I felt I needed to pull over to the side of the road because I wasn’t sure I could keep my eyes open for the 15-minute drive to the gym. I was pulling so much from my other batteries just to keep moving. I didn’t want my family to give me the boot, so I had to watch the levels in my Emotional and Adulting Batteries. That meant the Creative Battery got the biggest ax.

Now that my daughter is on summer break, I can sleep in a bit and go to a later workout time. That one hour a day has helped me so much! I can feel my creative juice coming back up. The downside is I only have 2 weeks left to figure out what to do once school starts again. My goal is to find a way to get to this model:

Basically, I need to find a way to be plugged in all the time. I have to keep going to my workouts in support of my health goals, and early morning is my best option so sleeping in will be out once school starts back up. I might be able to mix in some later workouts, but that causes a different kind of drain on my writing so it wouldnt be a permanent solution. I can’t drink caffeine for medical reasons, so that’s not an option. I’d been resorting to food as my energy source, but that wasn’t working well and it detracted from my health goals. I already take Vitamin D, but I may have to look into additional vitamins. I’ve tried diffusing oils at times, and occasionally that helps. I figure I’m going to have to get to bed earlier, but I’m not optimistic it will be sustainable long term. I’m not one to take naps, but I might have to try to figure out how to do that if I can’t get to bed. The struggle is real, and I suppose I ought to figure it out now while my Creative Battery is still sufficiently charged! Jonathan’s recent post about meditation gave me some ideas that I might try. 

What about you? Do you find your batteries are grouped in similar ways? What do you do to keep them charged?

~ Carrie


Marilyn Kay said...

Sleep, meditation and letting my mind wander—especially in the garden helps to recharge my creativity. I also try not to stress about my lack of creativity. If I let go of the conundrum, often solving the "plot twist" or "character" will come to me because I'm reading something totally unrelated to my story.

Carrie Beckort said...

Meditation is something I might have to try. I'm a pro at letting my mind wander, so I've got that covered :) Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl Oreglia said...

I love the way your mind thinks and categorizes! I hadn't thought about energy in this way but I have the same problem, I siphon energy wherever I can get it, often leaving my creativity depleated. Great post.

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