I’ve always thought of August as a good month to take off. Literally, if you fancy it and can afford to fly somewhere on holiday, but it’s a good month to just set as much aside as you can and enjoy the last full summer month (and the best one, in my opinion). However, this proves a little difficult to do if you’ve not been up to much and don’t feel as though you’ve earned a break. How can you have a month off from nothing?
Luckily, it’s a little easier to write about nothing. To write about the absence of creativity and inspiration, to write about the space between the idea and the artefact. No matter how much I wanted to ‘do’, in August, to design, to make, to write, I simply couldn’t. There was nothing there I could use to motivate myself, into putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. I could have worked on old, half-finished ideas, but I couldn’t even choose something in which I could almost dabble absentmindedly in the sheer hope of getting to the end.
Someone I admire and respect for their work ethic and the quality of their output, amongst other things, shared something online during August that made me think: It was something along the lines of ‘If you don’t write, you’re not a writer; if you don’t design, you’re not a designer. It’s as simple as that.’
So what am I? Whilst it’s not been ages since I’ve written, it’s been ages since I’ve finished something and published it. I’ve picked up half-finished crochet and knitting projects and worked the odd stitch, row or round, but I’ve designed nothing new. I feel as though I’ve become a passive consumer of my own creative history, if that makes sense. I’m living in what I used to do, and I can’t find a way to work that into my present, in order to give me a future.
Perhaps the way forward really is to cut all ties to what I used to do creatively in the past, to try and find something that thrills me, fills me with passion so that it’s my waking thought each morning. But, then, what do I do with my history? On what would I base my growth as a creator? Against what would I evaluate my performance, if not what came before? I ask these because I wouldn’t be willing to allow anyone else, nor their work, to become my benchmark, my standard. Influence, yes. Inspiration, yes. But not… Instruction, perhaps?
Writing this just over a week into September, I can tell you this month started pretty much in the same way as last month. If it ends the same way, I’ve no idea what I’ll do about all this.