When I graduated, I promised myself I would come out guns blazing. True to my word, after getting an agent, I immediately spent the first few weeks working on auditions, writing short stories, and generally throwing myself into projects (and reading about potential ones on the internet, occasionally to the point of going cross-eyed).
Six months, one novella, a short opera and a few small acting projects later, I'm out.
Well, not really. I'm not out of the game. I'm still very much in the game, as much as it can often feel like I'm not. Just out of steam, really. For the first half of the year I kept my head down, sternly working on a novella without so much as a peek at the outside world. Acting wise, I fought for and worked on various small projects while my muse kept me writing consistently, at times for 10 hours a day. But when I finally handed my novella over, I also, inadvertently, handed in my muse. A month later, I'm still feeling its loss.
I'm not uninspired. Strangely enough, I feel quite the opposite. Clear, energised, and ready to work. The only issue has been not having anything to work on.
Of course, part of that is being an actor and not being able to consistently work on the things that I choose to work on. That's fine, I accept that. The problem is being a writer, and not having anything to work on. After spending several months deeply ensconced and engaged, to say that life without that connection is unsettling is an understatement. I haven't been completely idle, of course (I would never allow myself to do that) - I've had the odd acting project to muse over, however small, and of course, this blog. But for the most part my muse has been silent.
For the most part, I've been good about it. In the spirit of trying to be open and life-affirming I've tried to see my self-imposed creative 'holiday' as an opportunity to develop other aspects of my life, and to be fair, I've racked up a few 'hobbies' that I never thought I'd develop:
- Firstly, running. I've always run on and off but with a commercial project looming I thought I'd develop a proper rhythm to discipline myself with. This has been a blessing. Running regularly has given me a solid schedule to follow in lieu of writing, and as an bonus side effect, a shitload of energy.
- Internet cooking. In an attempt to eat healthier and happier I bought a Women's Health magazine and started cooking up their quinoa and barley recipes and haven't looked back. Since then I have followed up with many awesome recipes from various websites around the web. Many an afternoon has been spent happily snacking away on homemade date and coconut balls and chocolate covered bananas (and nursing a broken blender - don't ask).
- Social networking sites. I'm everywhere.
- Blogging. To be honest I'm still a bit unsure about this one. I would prefer to work on creative assignments. But documenting my internet reading has certainly been eyeopening (Los Angeles Book Review! Who knew??), and so too has the world of blogging in general (Fabian Kruse, I love you).
For someone who has never really had hobbies before, this has been a pleasant experiment. For the first time in my life I've experienced what it is to be truly idle and to be able to consciously and fruitfully pass my time. It has been calming and centring. I have been in the moment. I've enjoyed the flow. But I also really, really would like my muse back.
On the benefits of idleness - Fabian Kruse on procrastination (I remind myself of this constantly!)