How do you continue to create in times of stress?

The world ties cinder blocks to our balloons, and if we don’t cut them free, we will never fly.

I realized this morning that I haven’t created in a few weeks. I’ve journaled. I’ve tweeted witty things. I’ve produced work at my job. I’ve written a hundred insightful, well-crafted comments about world events.

But I haven’t created. I have responded.

There’s nothing wrong with responding; we all should participate in the debates of our time, add humor and critical thought to the human dialog. Help others learn while learning from them. But I want to create. I love having written stories like Lifelike that come purely from my imagination.

A person has only so much creative fuel, though, and the world conspires to burn it in a thousand little ways every day. Solving problems at work. Deciphering baffling health care bills. Explaining white privilege in 140 characters. I have to be careful of burning up all my creative fuel.

In order to create, though, I also need to cut loose the thousand stones the world ties to my ankles every day. Gut-wrenching news of terrorism, violent demonstrations, and hate crimes. Family members’ health problems. The worry of too many expenses and not enough income. Constant reminders like Facebook notifications saying “Peter Dudley – Author got no new views this week.” (Thanks, Facebook, for really brightening my day.) These weights numb my brain until I just want to sit and be empty for a bit.

It’s impossible to fly without fuel, or when you’re too heavily weighed down.

But life is life.

What do you do to cut loose the weights, and to keep from burning too much of your creative fuel during the week?

2 thoughts on “How do you continue to create in times of stress?”

  1. Is your lack of creative juice the same as writer’s block? Sometimes when I can’t think of anything worth putting on paper, I go to a book I think is extremely well written. It doesn’t have to be a classic. I often go to Raymond Chandler because I like the way he describes things in fresh ways. Whatever, rereading someone I think does a good job of making words sparkle sometimes loosens the muse. If that doesn’t work, I pick up Lisa Cron, Wired for Story and it gets me back in the mood to play with words.

  2. I love your creative writing in this post, Peter. What I do to maintain my creative fuel is look for ways to be more efficient with the have-to’s. My newest exploration is getting set up with 22Social. Check it out: It came highly recommended by a friend.

    I don’t see your creative fuel burning up. It’s musing and getting ready to expand. Remember “Mindset is everything.” “Words are things.” “Thoughts become reality.” “Change your thoughts, change your life.” All that stuff.

    Or, just make a date with your muse and go to Starbucks.

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