At the end of last year, Bonnie Glendinning put on The Thriving Artist Summit where she recorded interviews with artists from around the world. In these interviews the artists discussed how they make a living from their art.
Among the many fascinating interviews, was a gem of a quote that particularly resonated with me. Bonnie Glendinning said:
If you’re a creative soul, you were born restless.
With those words, suddenly a part of myself made sense.
Recognising the Restlessness
I’ve always felt a restlessness, a drive to write. The strange thing is, when I’m writing that drive doesn’t diminish – in fact, becomes even stronger. It seems it can never be satiated.
I always have more projects I want to work on, more things I want to accomplish. When I’m not able to accomplish them as fast as I would like, my restlessness gnaws at me.
Have you experienced this too?
I’ve tried several different methods of coping with this restlessness.
For a while I tried ignoring it. I was too busy, or too ill, to put my energies into writing. It was as if I shoved the restlessness into a box and clamped the lid down shut.
But that didn’t help the situation. In fact, denying that creative part of me just led to irritability and frustration.
So I tried to let it out. I thought if I poured my energy into writing, somehow I would fill that restlessness and it would begin to abate.
But the more I tried to fill it, the more restless I became until I felt almost frantic.
Bonnie’s quote brought me to a realisation: I was born restless and I will continue restless. It’s not something I can just fill up and be done with.
But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Coming to Terms with the Restlessness
My restlessness is not something I should hide in a corner or try to overfill in the hope it will just go away. It’s part of being creative. It’s a part of me.
I’ve come to realise that instead of viewing my restlessness as a frustration I need to get rid of, I should view it as a motivating force.
The answer is to let the restless keep me moving creatively, at a sustainable pace, because I will always be moving. I will always have more words to write, more stories to tell, more characters to bring into the world.
There will always be more. So instead of pouring my energy into removing the restlessness, I can use the restlessness to bring my words into the world at a pace my fingers will allow – accepting of the fact that there will be plenty more words waiting.
I know there will be some words that will never see the light of day. But if I turn up to the page every morning, then plenty of them will make their way into the world.
My restlessness is my companion. It has been there since I can remember and it will continue with me throughout my life. Now is my time to make peace with it and befriend that part of myself.
Where Will Your Restlessness Lead You?
If this description of creative restlessness is resonating with you too, what can you do about it?
- First of all, start taking yourself seriously as a writer (or an artist). If you’re feeling this drive within you, don’t stifle it. Recognise it as an essential part of yourself. Tell yourself and the world that you are a writer.
- Next, get yourself into a good creative routine. Find ways to regularly feed and exercise your Creativity. Write daily. Set goals.
- As you progress, keep a positive mindset. Remember that your restlessness isn’t an enemy, but a companion to keep you motivated. Being a writer is a lifelong adventure. Continue learning and enjoy the journey.
When you put these three things into action, your writing will begin to take you in all sorts of interesting directions. You’ll achieve your goals, but you also may end up discovering new friends and achieving surprising things in the process.
We’re all restless. Let’s use it to propels us towards our writing dreams.
How do you deal with your creative restlessness?
If you’re struggling to maintain a good creative routine and positive mindset in your writing, then get in touch and let me know how I can help. My e-mail is jessica at creativitysworkshop dot com.