Much of my creative energy has been going to actually writing. No, plotting. No, thinking. No, all of the above. These last few weeks have been full, to the brim, overflowing. I would like to say I am not kind of person who likes to be busy, that busyness pulls me from a carefully constructed shell where creativity is guarded, but that’s not entirely true.
As a writer, time alone with my thoughts is valuable. Necessary. The only way actual words get down. As a person who edges easily toward the OCD overpass right off anxiety highway, alone time (when not actually writing or doing something I see as productive) is a slippery slope. A carefully constructed busy can be the best possible way to jumpstart my creative, while also maintaing my sane.
Last Thursday I went to an author signing and panel in Frisco, TX featuring the fabulous talent of Tessa Gratton, Myra McEntire, Tara Hudson and Sonia Gensler. Before the event, my dear friend and 2014 debut author Lindsay Cummings signed us up for a Fresh Fiction organized dinner with the authors. I was one of the very few writers present at this dinner that was unagented or unpublished. I don’t say this for sympathy, being in the company of these many talented women was inspiring. Lindsay and I were seated with Tessa Gratton, who I heartily recommend you follow on Twitter, buy her books, and generally adore. She said something at dinner about writers commonly being introverts, and that she has learned to play the extrovert for the purpose of promoting her books.
I would agree with her, most writers are introverts. I am not. I am also not a people person. I don’t love everyone. I don’t get along with everyone. I define friendship, at the most basic level, as a connection born from mutual interest, mutual respect, or mutual benefit…or all of these things.
I do well in social situations where there is a common love of storytelling, whether that mean they’re filmmakers, writers, of fans of Dr. Who. I will not (happily, without much resistance) entertain a conversation about breast milk, or Obama, or baking. (Though, if you are a baker who likes books, I will love you forever.)
What does this have to do with busyness? There are inevitable times where we are more productive, more creatively affluent, more stimulated and therefore more in demand. This can mean professionally, personally, emotionally, but rest assured whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you will have to conquer your inherent inner monologue to succeed. I enjoy socially engaging. I am a bit of a performer. I am a fan of banter. But at the end of the day, I’m a writer, and in order to succeed I have to will myself away from the lure of the spotlight or the joy of connecting socially, to connect with the creative ability inside.
When I was a girl, my uncle who likes to recite limericks of all kinds, used one in particular on me and my brothers. The Busy, Busy Bee.
The busy, busy bee he circles all around; the busy, busy bee, he needs a place to land, he’ll circle round your nose, he’ll circle round your toes, he’ll pull out his stinger, and he’ll get you in the seat!
Life is a balance, between our desires and our fears, between what we know we can do and what we long to conquer. Busy is a poor descriptive word for searching, and as you search, you start to connect.