Photo credit: Helene Anne Fortin
Distractions. They’re pesky – no doubt about it. It’s a huge leap of faith to pursue a creative path, and dodging the endless curveballs that threaten productivity only adds to the challenge. Sometimes these curveballs knock us off our feet and send us completely off course. The trick is to crawl up out of the ditch and get back on solid ground. Well, somewhat solid ground. Artistic paths rarely consist of “solid” anything, but that’s oddly part of the appeal.
Distractions come in many forms. Sometimes something as simple (and annoying) as laundry can take us away from the task at hand, but the big things? Like loss, job changes, or moving? They can feel like cosmic tests of our convictions. They’re not, of course. They’re just part of life. Life’s the pitcher, and bullshit’s the curveball. The true test is not in the dodging; it’s in the follow through when you’re up to bat – and in giving yourself permission to rest after taking a few swings. Even if you strike out, rest and head back to the plate when you’re ready.
I recently acquired a new address, and the whole process distracted me from my writing. Unable to work in the midst of taunting boxes, I wore myself out trying to get my creative space “just right.” It’s almost done, but there was a pivotal point when I had to just say, “It’s okay that you’re not writing right now. It’s really okay.”
For those of us with creative passions, the world feels out of sorts when we’re not actively pursuing them – completely out of sorts. There’s a gnawing ache inside us that not only begs for relief but beats on us for not providing some. At some point, however, you just have to say, “I’ll get back to it.” That’s the climbing out of the ditch phase. That’s the search for solid ground. Don’t rush it. Just know you’ll get there – one permissible step at a time.