As a general rule, we feel better when we do our creative work than when we don’t.
We may procrastinate, we may drag our heels. And once we actually do get down to work, we may find it tiring, even frustrating. But even then, we can at least walk away with a feeling of satisfaction for having taken the time and energy to let our creative spirit loose for a bit, and that’s always a good feeling.
Except when it isn’t.
There are times when you conclude a session feeling a little moody, even depressed. You may have have been wonderfully productive, and created some work you’re actually proud of, but there’s still a certain heaviness you can’t quite shake. I’ve been confused by this many times, and have come to believe that it’s a natural and predictable (if annoying) by-product of the creative process.
When you’re working at your best, your whole self is involved, and your creative side is drawing on all parts of who you are. And that’s a good thing. The trouble is, you sometimes stir up some dust in the infrequently visited parts of your psyche and that can leave you with, for lack of a better term, a kind of amorphous feeling of ooginess.
Oddly enough, this is actually good news, if a little hard to take. It means that you’re not just scratching the surface. You’re doing some good, deep work that’s actually involving your whole soul. The more vulnerable you feel, the more true your work probably is.
More good news: if this is happening to you, you have license to be extra kind to yourself. Go for the comfort foods, the cheesy movies, some quality time with your favorite people, or whatever works for you. You did some good work and got to some interesting places, so indulge yourself a little and just ride the feelings out. They’ll pass.
At least until next time.