Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creativity and Motherhood

I believe, passionately, that everyone has at least one talent. Discovering that talent should be a priority in all our lives.

Now it's also true that some people seem to have MANY talents. Sometimes I think that I come across that way. But the truth is, I only have the one talent. Creativity. It manifests in different ways--drawing (which I hardly do anymore), writing, baking, sewing, taking pictures--but it is essentially a single talent.

Fortunately, creativity is a talent that serves me well in my role as a mother. But there's difficulty making time to exercise my creativity in healthy outlets. The primary outlet I've chosen, because I can do the most good with it, is writing. Occasionally I will let myself believe what others have said about my skills. Most of the time I deflect compliments because they make me uncomfortable. But the truth is, there are a LOT of talented, creative authors out there. Which is a good thing, since variety is the spice of life.

But having an overabundance of creativity often clashes with my duties as a wife, mother and day care provider. Not that I can really call watching one toddler a day care. But I have enough experience with children to confidently call myself a professional. That's another story.

Here's an example of what happens when I don't exercise my writing demons frequently enough: Yesterday I showed up early to pick up my kids from school. I chose to use the time to relax, and parked under a shade tree at the nearby church, turned on my iPod and played Pyramid Solitaire while listening to music.

After a few minutes, a white car pulled into the parking lot. It drove all the way to the back of the lot and sat there for ten minutes. During those ten minutes, my imagination took me on a wild ride where the occupants of the car fight, one shoots the other and dumps the body, then drives by my van on the way out and fires some shots at me. What would I do if I was suddenly a witness to murder? How would I protect myself and my family if the murderer came after me? It went on from there.

Remember, all that white car did was drive into the parking lot and sit there for a bit before pulling out again. In reality, not much different than what I did. But my mind ran with it.

The other problem I have is turning off my brain long enough to fall asleep. Did you know that insomnia is defined as an inability to fall asleep within 15 minutes of starting to try to sleep more frequently than once or twice a month? Guess what--I'm an insomniac. Why? Because it takes me no less than 45 min to 2 hours to fall asleep EVERY NIGHT. And it doesn't matter if I go to bed at midnight or 9pm. It's the same thing. Lately I turn on my iPod and listen to music and play games until my eyes refuse to stay open. It actually works, though it does mean if I want to go to sleep around 11 I have to start my ritual around 10.

Otherwise I'll just lay there, going over story scenarios and scenes and plots from my existing stories forever.

Here's where I'm lucky. My kids and hubby are universally supportive of my writing. My kids even pray I'll get published, which is what I credit for my current publishing contract. Once I was under contract, my youngest started to pray that I'd be published "all the way," which to her means a book in hand. Gotta love that kid.

It's great to be able to be myself in my little family, and have them love me anyway. I'm blessed, and I'm grateful.