Over the weekend, we had quite a heatwave. Here in western Pennsylvania, that means humidity on top of the high temperatures, and while many of the communities around my area received afternoon rains to ease that humidity, mine did not. When I woke up this morning, however, it was to the sound of rain and temperatures more than twenty degrees (F) below what we had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Perfect weather to sit down with a large mug of tea and my laptop for an extensive writing session.
Many of us who engage in creative pursuits on top of having a day job and various social/family obligations can often find it frustrating trying to eek out enough free time to devote to our projects. When we do get free time, sometimes we struggle to utilize it. Creative blocks often come when we just don't have the energy to focus on our creative goals. But when the stars do manage to align and we have both the free time and the energy to create, we can fall into another problem. Sometimes we can become so immersed in our projects that we forget to take time for ourselves.
Summer can be a busy time for many people. Between graduation parties, vacations, cookouts, and other outdoor adventures, time spent indoors and at home decreases as the weather warms. This may mean that time for creative pursuits gets usurped by social activities, but for me, I find myself with more opportunities to work on projects.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent several days with my DSLR camera, enjoying the spring weather and searching out wildflowers and migrating birds. I've captured some beautiful shots, found birds I don't often get a chance to photograph, and come across some things I had not thought to see at all. Some of my camera walks I've done as part of my job and so had been allowed to spend office hours reviewing and editing those photos. And during that time, I realized why I have a bad habit of putting off photo editing. Even if a day's set is well-composed and requires little time per photo during editing, it is still a very time-consuming process for me. And that can be quite frustrating.
Writers, when they are researching or building up character and plot details, can fall victim to too much information. Details can be key to creating a compelling and believable story, but at the same time, it's possible to have too much or too many.
Numerous people keep notebooks by their beds to record details of their dreams upon waking. There are various reasons why people take up this practice, but artists and writers who do this are often looking for inspiration for their projects. Sometimes putting nightmares into words or visual art or music can be cathartic for those who truly find them frightening. Those of us finding pleasure in horror genres may simply find nightmares too intriguing to resist sharing with the waking world.
March can be a frustrating time in western Pennsylvania. Spring weather intersperses with winter temperatures, teasing residents with the promise of warmth and sun one day only to have the next day requiring winter coats once again. Buds on the trees start to swell, and if the warmer temps stick around for too many days in a row, they may even start to grow leaves before the final snow of winter falls. Other signs of spring include the return of migratory birds, such as turkey vultures, killdeer, and red-winged blackbirds. And the spring peepers, a tiny native tree frog, have been singing for several days in the wetlands now.
Over the weekend I finally found a particular movie soundtrack selling at a reasonable price which I have been looking for over the course of several years (The Ghost and the Darkness, soundtrack by Jerry Goldman). I have mentioned before how I sometimes use music to help me find the mood for various scenes in my writing, and this soundtrack fits my inspirational needs for scenes in multiple projects. So I'm quite excited by the fact that I've finally been able to purchase it in a physical format.
I've had trouble finding motivation or inspiration to create much of anything this past week or so. And if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I've been fairly quiet there as well. I've fallen into a nihilistic mood that is often hard for me to shake. Being halfway through February, I am only a handful of weeks away from my busiest time of year, when my work schedule encroaches on my free time, and it becomes increasingly difficult to make progress on any of my personal projects. This is a very disheartening time for me, and I question the worth of working on any major projects as I know I'll end up interrupted during critical stages by a variety of obligations.
While painting and sketching will always remain a hobby for me, they are still activities in which I want to develop my skills. As I've explained previously, these types of visual arts can help me with my writing process, particularly when I'm trying to hammer out details or rid myself of a distraction. Over the past few days, I have been doing the latter, working on a fanart project that has been distracting my mind from my current manuscript.