First of all, let me confess, I did NOT finish the first draft of my graphic novel as I wanted to last week. The tumultuous nature of our half retreat coupled with fighting off the bug my son had made me just completely incapable of focusing in on anything for long periods of time. I managed to get several scenes written, but my brain was mush. But I am focused again, with only a few sniffles remaining, ready to dive into ongoing and new projects, and today I’m back at my steady creative job after a week and a half off (and only a few hours the previous couple of weeks). Yes, I’m typing this up while at work, but I had to take a little break to eat lunch, right? But anyway, I woke up this morning full of energy, gears turning and motors humming, excited to be back in the thick of things.
I have seen a lot of posts at the start of this new year about the trap of “busy”, of taking on too much. That people see their lack of free time as a badge of honor, but in reality they are using it as a way to disconnect. And maybe this is true for some people. For me, being busy makes me happy. I just work better having ten different things going on at once. Working on one thing lets my brain problem-solve something else. And I’m actually more likely to accomplish what I want to in a given day. When I’m busy, I don’t have time to trip myself up. When I’m not busy, I start worrying at things I shouldn’t worry about, lose momentum, let other things slide, and wind up getting sick. Granted, it is all about balancing. Because if I have ten things going on at once and then try to add two or three more, I start to tip over into overdrive, and that’s not good for me or the people that have to put up with me.
This morning, though, was wonderful. Had a nice leisurely cuddle with my son, did my morning pages and exercised, a little organizing, did a few homeschool preschool worksheets with my son, and got myself ready. Now, at work, I find several things that didn’t get done while I was gone as they were supposed to, but it’s fine. It’ll get done. I have some new toys to play with, a work trip to finalize details for (plus I get to do some socializing, yay!), I get to reconnect with some creative souls I haven’t seen for months and meet some new ones, and once I get home, I’ll be so energized by work that I’ll spend a good chunk of tonight writing before bed. I might even throw a few layers of paint on my in-progress paintings while I’m at it.
Bottom line, though, is that you need to do what makes you happy. And when creating, you need to discover what works best for you, what gets you out of your own way. Decide how you measure progress, and then use that measurement against yourself. Don’t worry about labels, or how you match up with someone else. For me, I need to find the right blend of “busy” to motivate and energize me and keep me happy. I don’t wear that as a badge. It’s just how I am.