Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I’ve Got a Theory: Expending Creative Energy

My theory can be summed up in a single sentence. Are you ready for it? Here goes.

If you don’t expend creative energy, BAD THINGS HAPPEN.

Mark my words. BAD. THINGS.

Of course creative energy can be expended in a million different ways. Writing, drawing, photography, graphic design, creating things with your hands. Heck, even finding solutions to organization problems or coming up with really cool math problems. (Oh my gosh. I did technical support for spreadsheet software for a few years and I wrote some paragraph-long formulas that had the power to make me float for days. DAYS, I tell you!)

It wasn’t until I cashed in every single one of my creative outlets for writing that I realized the full effect of creative energy expenditure. You know, sometimes life gets busy. And you don’t have time to write (or whatever your favorite method is). And that’s when the bad things happen.

You see, there’s this thing that lives in your brain. He’s a maniacal, crazy, hyper little monster, and doing creative things is like Valium to him. When he doesn't get his Valium, he goes wild. Wild like a nine year old ADHD kid hopped up on mass amounts of sugar, Dr. Pepper, and red dye #40. He runs around your brain and beats on the walls and yells and jumps and throws things, and it takes EVERY OUNCE OF PATIENCE TO HANDLE THE CHAOS ENSUING.

And the thing is, you don't even realize it's going on. You don't realize that you have spent every bit of your patience until something else comes along. Any tiny little thing, really. And suddenly you can't handle it. And you don't even know why, because it's such a teeny little thing. Of course you should be able to handle it just fine! But you don't.

See? These are very bad things.

I swear to you, if you ever feel this way, you can look back and say, "Wow. When was the last time I did something creative?"

And you'll hear the answer in a maniacal, crazy, hyper voice. "Forever ago! I NEED MY VALIUM!"

If you go and expend ANY kind of creative energy (but preferably the kind you've been most craving), then the BAD THINGS DISAPPEAR. Like magic.

So go be creative! Write! Draw! Make cool math problems! Then everything will come up roses again. I promise.


Clarissa Draper said...

I agree. And that's why I know I can't just give up my writing. Eventually the monster is yakking in my air. I do feel better when I take the monster for a walk. Great post.

Jessie Humphries said...

Did you draw this valium monster?
But yes, I agree. So true for kids. I get the paints and markers out like 5 times a day for this reason.

J+S said...

I think you are correct! No wonder I've been acting like a dangerous member of society these days. I blame Pinterest. That site occupies my time with so little effort on my part.

About my book flowers...I gave most of them away to the littlest girls at our activity, but I will have to make some more and snap a picture for sure. They are so cute and easy - albeit time consuming.

K. Marie Criddle said...

I love how you put a creature face to every weird thought in my brain. Makes them so much easier to handle!
I completely understand this, though. I find myself getting incredibly cranky without creative outlets. Whether I like it or not, forcing myself to sit down and write or draw is a healthy, healthy thing.
Now, eating salads...that's something else. BUT I DIGRESS.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I could never give my writing up. Sometimes I feel like I want to throw my computer out the window, but then I would kick myself for doing it. I love writing. I really do. :) And that little monster is super cute and creepy at the same time! Is that possible? He he.

Jill Kemerer said...

This is SO true! I'm a better human being because I write. It takes the edge off my hyper-active brain. :)

And I just joined your site and love that we get cookies on Friday!! Party time!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Clarissa-- Yes! Yakking = bad, writing = good. :)

Jessie-- No. Otherwise he'd be a stick monster, and they just don't have the same scare potential. Thanks for thinking I did, though!

J+S-- Hahahahaha! And I think your flowers sounded AWESOME.

Marie-- You should definitely draw and write because it's healthy for YOU. Really. It's not at all because I'm selfish and want the healthy dose of laughing for ME. Serious. I'm only looking out for you. (But if you don't keep sharing your outlets, I might have to hunt you down.)

Chantele-- I totally know what you mean!

Jill-- Writers should have that printed and taped above their desks. "I'm a better human being because I write." Awesome! I'm glad you're going to hang out with us! Definite party and cookies on Fridays.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

What a great post! And so true, too. I really am happier when I am writing. It's therapy, for better or worse. This is my first visit to your blog and I'm thrilled to have found it. : )

Peggy Eddleman said...

It's pretty cheap therapy, too! Until we start to query, then it turns into the opposite of therapy. ;) And I'm thrilled you found my blog, too! Welcome!

Cristina said...

oh my God... I have just had one of those days where I just want to squash EVERYONE that crosses my path... and it hit me around dinner time that it's writing, I haven't done it in a week and it's killing me... and now I come over here to visit your lovely blog and you just confirmed it for me.. thank you !!!
So glad to have found yet another mazing blog, yay!!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Cristina-- Your comment made me laugh out loud! Glad I could be of help. :) And thanks!!