When You Don’t Know What to Say

Maybe I should have called this “When I Don’t Know What to Say.” I decided to use “You,” though, because there are times when many of us don’t know what to say or even if we should say anything.

Sometimes I run out of things to say. Or, I don’t know how to say what I’m thinking. This usually happens when I’ve been overthinking. I actually get accused of doing that a lot. And it’s true. When I follow my instincts, I tend to do much better than I do if I think about it first. (Whatever “it” may be at the time.)

Then there are the times that things happen, either personally, locally, or nationally, and I feel like I should say or do something. But I have no idea what that something should be. And that is when I wonder if there is even a point to all of this. To the creating, the writing, the making, the caring.

I know there is.

During WWII, someone suggested to Winston Churchill that they should cut funding for the arts in order fund the war effort. He said (and I could be wrong about the exact wording here), “Then what are we fighting for?”

Even when we don’t know what to say, keep on keeping on. Keep creating. Let your voice be heard for you and the people who truly cannot say anything, not just because they don’t know what to say.

This took a more serious turn than I had intended. But, I suppose, when thinking about current events as I sit down to write a post, that ought to be expected. It also goes to show that even my creative path is not all fun and games and laughter, though I might wish it otherwise.

We have to figure out what to say. We have to say it. And, ultimately, we have to keep creating.

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Manufacturing Light

This goes hand-in-hand with yesterday’s post about seasonal changes. In fact, it was originally going to be part of it, but then I decided to separate the two.

When it gets dark early, sometimes the available sunlight (when it’s not overcast) and the overhead lights just aren’t enough. I have a floor lamp and a desk lamp that I use often during the winter months. Even then, that’s not always enough.

Enter the candles.

I have a lot of candles. There’s something about that little flame, flickering on the table by my chair or the file cabinet by my desk that just …. It makes me smile. It’s almost like my own little ray of sunshine. If it’s scented, so much the better.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was going to fight back against decreasing productivity in the coming months because of the limited light. This is one way I’m going to do it. I’m going to be manufacturing my own light when I need to.

It will help.

What about you? What are some ways you keep your motivation up and creativity going when you would rather hibernate?

Seasonal Changes

It happens in subtle ways, but it is becoming more obvious that summer is over. It gets dark earlier. The temperatures are (finally) cooling down. (Although if there’s anyone here from the Southern hemisphere, it’s the opposite.)

Sometimes those changes bring about changes in creative patterns. Writing about summer things typically turns to writing about winter things. Though, truthfully, it should be the opposite. Not because thinking warm when it’s cold will make you warm (I’m not sure I buy into that, to be honest), but because of the way magazine lead times work.

The changes in light are what affect me the most. Sometimes I suspect I have some degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In those times, I tend to be less productive. I have come to expect it.

This year, however, I expect to fight it. I want – and need – to stay productive if I want to finish the year strong. And I do! If I don’t, I won’t finish out the plans I have laid out. Those plans will give me a strong footing for next year to start. So, seasonal changes or not, I need to keep on keeping on. And I will.

What about you? How do seasonal changes affect you, if they do?

A Dream Full of Creators

A few nights ago, I had an odd dream. I’ve sat on this a while, because in telling the dream, it will sound like a lot of name-dropping. But be that as it may, here it is.

I was living back in our house in McAlester (Oklahoma). The Sherwin Williams parking lot behind the house had been turned into a skate park. The gate was gone off of the fence around our backyard so people were lounging around and watching the skateboarders across the alley.

I opened the blinds on the living room window to check out what all the noise was. Casey Neistat had his camera sitting on the window ledge, doing part of his vlog in my backyard. Peter McKinnon just got there with his skateboard (I don’t remember if it was his boosted board or a regular skateboard – it’s been a few days since I had this dream.) Roberto Blake was there, but not skating. Some others were there, too, some skating, some not. I didn’t recognize all of them well enough to name them.

When I opened the blinds, Casey looked surprised then waved. The doorbell rang. It was a couple more people trying to get to the skate park. Instead of going around the block, they asked if they could just go through the house. I let them.

Someone invited me to go out to the skate park. I said, “I don’t know how to skate.”

They said, “It doesn’t matter. Just come hang out.”

So I did.

What does all this mean? My personal interpretation, with everything I have going on, is that I’m in a good place right now, creatively speaking. My YouTube channel may currently be suffering (that will be changing soon), but I’m in with good people and can learn a lot just by watching their videos and participating in the ongoing discussions.

Whether that’s what this would actually mean or not is kind of irrelevant at this point. I’ve never really been into dream interp, so that’s what I’m taking from it.

Nature

Stairs at Lake Carlton dam at Robber’s Cave State Park

I need to get out and walk more. I know it. My weight proves it to me on a daily basis. Lately, the way my jeans fit proves it to me even more.

If I don’t get out enough, my mood takes a direct hit. The best way to be sure I get out more is to incorporate nature walks into my exercise regimen. (I have to laugh. At this point, I don’t really have an exercise regimen, though I keep planning on it. Does that count?)

When you read about writers, artists, poets, composers, etc., you see almost all of them mention regular walks. Some of them are short, just for exercise, but others are long, intended for musing and working through problems posed by their work.

In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron mentions going for walks on a frequent basis. She has said there is a reason our compiled progress is called a body of work. It lives inside of us, takes up residence inside our body. It requires movement, so we must move.

For some reason, I tend to forget that part, though.

All of the creatives you see talking about walking never say they walk inside, on a track. It’s all outside, to get the benefit of nature. There we can witness creativity in its most natural form. I know the birds and wildlife and trees and flowers don’t communicate directly with us and would not call it creativity if they could. That’s what it is, though. They’re creating life.

I think we could all learn something from that. I know I could.

(On a side note, this is post #100 for this blog!)

Do Animals Influence Your Creativity?

Here’s another one from that brainstormed list I mentioned yesterday.

Do animals influence your creativity?

On a purely story-telling level, I say yes. They always provide something for you to tell – or write – a story about. With the way our two dogs play and interact, there is always something to tell that they’ve done.

On an inspirational level, I say … sometimes. If Gabby (she’s a shih tzu) comes in when I’m in the middle of something, it’s usually because she wants attention. That’s not necessarily a useful thing. I am always aware of when she comes in. Sometimes she will beg for attention. Other times, she will settle down and lie in the floor by my chair.

On a psychological level, I say yes. Both of our dogs are always mood-lifters. Gabby knows when I don’t feel well and she stays very close by at those times. Zack (he’s a schnauzer) knows, too, but he’s more apt to keep his distance. When I’m in the living room, for example, and not working on anything, he’ll sit on my foot and lean against my leg so I know he’s there. If it’s a particularly bad time, he’ll force his nose under my hand so I have no choice but to pet him. My life is definitely better because of these two critters.

So to answer this question, I have two definite yeses and a sometimes. Ultimately, I think that means, for me, that animals do influence my creativity. They definitely influence my feelings of well-being, which is the real influence on creativity.

What about the animals in your life, past or present?

Weather and Creativity

For me, I know my mood can be influenced by the weather. Sometimes I wonder if I let it, if my creativity could be too.

By “if I let it,” I mean that since I have decided to prioritize my creativity, I work on it every day. I intentionally do something creative – usually writing. When I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge (a challenge to blog daily throughout October, if you’re not participating and wondering what I’m talking about), I sat down and brainstormed a list of posts for the entire month. Some of those have changed, but I’ve mostly gone by the list. That’s why today is about weather and creativity.

The thing of it is, I would be almost as productive if I did rely on a connection between weather and creativity because there is something inspiring in just about all weather. If it’s bright and sunny, I want to make/write something. If it’s rainy or cloudy, I want to make/write something. If it’s storming? Well… That depends on the storm. If it’s severe, I want to hide. If it’s just a regular thunderstorm, I want to make/create something.

If it’s snowy/icy, I want to hibernate. That’s my only real exception.

What do you think? Is there a connection between writing and your creativity? I don’t mean in general. This is on a personal level.