I put this video from Alexi Murdoch at the top of my post because this is what I want to remind myself and anyone who is on the creative path. I read a blog post from Stephanie Grossman yesterday in which she said she often felt overwhelmed when she entered a bookstore. There are just too many books. Which ones to read? When do we read? What about our job, our families? When do we have time to create?
Today we are inundated with information. Everywhere we look, information assaults us. The difficulty is not in finding new information, but discerning what we should pay attention to and what we should ignore. As we all know, more often than not we ignore the more important things and pay attention to trivialities. How often have we wandered down that internet click-hole when we should have been reading, writing, simply breathing? Too often, for me.
Sometimes I find it necessary to pause. I restrict my social media access. I do not read the news, which is full of tragedies large and small. I avoid television and over-sensitization. For certain creative types, like myself, we are more sensitive to overstimulation. Artists pay attention to the world more intensely than most, typically. We are observers, noticing details others often miss. This results in better art. How can you create if you don’t understand the universe you dwell in? We observe the world and let it penetrate us. And these sensations undergo a psychic alchemy inside our bodies, where they eventually emerge as art. The problem is that when we take in too much, when we oversaturate our senses, for those of us who are already steeped in sensation, this results in burn out.
The solution is taking a break.
Julia Cameron talks about this in The Artist’s Way, and I think she is absolutely correct. Pausing, as an artist, may feel like a betrayal. Don’t we have A,B,C, D and Z to do? Life is short and YOLO and hurry the fuck up because everyone else is rushing, rushing, rushing, and if we don’t get it done then…then….then…
Seriously. Breathe. Pause. Take a moment. Take a few days, if you have to. It’s okay. Life will be there when you return.