Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Creativity & "Madness" 2nd look

News and not-so-new news
The Nashville Goal-Attainment Meetup continues on Tuesdays at 6 pm. Please sign up for this empowering group at
http://self-improvement.meetup.com/279/. This is the Getting It Done! chance for success! Ifyou really want to create the life you dream of, this is the place that can help you get it done! Creative and everyday goals are welcome. It's an open group: come when you can!

Time Management for Creative People will be presented at the Songwriter’s Guild of America on June
18th and 26th (both are Thursday evenings). That's next week, people! Please go to www.songwritersguild.com to sign up. First step in Time Management: put it on your calendars now! We’ll be talking about organizing, scheduling, and a lot more than that! As usual in my workshops, I’ll be addressing the special issues creative folks face in accomplishing left-brain activities such as managing time. We’ll be doing some fun right-brain activities, too. Managing time leads to increased success in your creative endeavors! So, what are you waiting for? Seating is (really and truly) limited, so reserve now. Kimberly’s waiting to hear from you!

Website News The to-do list to get
www.UPositive.com up and running is showing some actual check-it's-done marks! The two May videos remain up on YouTube. Check them out and enter the creativity challenge! They'll be there throughout June, too; I'll aim to start new ones on a monthly basis in July. Does anyone know how to create a virtual party for the day when www.UPositive.com is up and running?

My first eBook, Goal Attainment for Creative People, will available from the Webite as soon as it's active. I’m also busy creating some fun products---coffee mugs, T-shirts, caps, magnets, etc.---related to creativity, goal attainment, and just plain silliness. Does anyone out there know how to maneuver in CafePress.com?

There’s actually an annual week-long seminar out in Santa Fe that I’m planning to attend one of these years, by that title. Intriguing workshops, though most are based on examining the work of a particular well-known artist (broadest definition of the term), usually past, in the light of their mental health issues or personality quirks. It leaves much to be desired, as far as I can tell, but the title of the retreat draws me to it, hopefully not in the moth-to-flame kind of way.

What interests me much more are inquiries into the chicken-or-egg type of controversy over “madness” and creativity. Most of the studies I’ve read approach the topic with how the symptoms of a mental health diagnosis---such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder---affect the creative process, either feeding it or detracting from it.

Many salient points are explored in those approaches: how the listlessness and lack of energy of depression keep writers from their work; how being unable to focus leaves many artistic works unfinished, frustrating the artist; how anxiety about failure or success leaves many works unmarketed, or even uncreated.

I like this approach, as it provides quite a bit of insight into problems my friends, colleagues, and clients face.

But it leaves something out. Something I’ve experienced myself, and something---once I broach the topic---many creative people relate to.

Avoiding creative action can exacerbate the symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADD, OCD, or any number of other “madnesses.” When I have stories or songs brewing inside me and don’t make the time to release them onto paper or laptop, a particular kind of frustration sets in. If I continue to avoid creating, the frustration turns to anger, or anxiety, or a cloudlike depression that begins to affect my mood and other activities. It slows me down, though I tend to try to speed up in everything I do.

Truth is, if I don't make time for the creative outflow, no matter how fast I think I'm doing everything else, I tend to wander in circles. It takes more hours to accomplish fewer tasks. My attention, my life-force, my internal Power is off-kilter, mucking up the clarity with which I otherwise work.

What are your experiences: does your anxiety/depression/etc. work for or against your creativity? Does your avoidance of creativity increase or decrease your mental-health symptoms? I'd love to read your thoughts on the topic!