I recently had a forced 5 month break from my creative outlet and passion. In my case this is guitar playing and songwriting, but I’d say these thoughts can be related to any form of creativity, practice or discipline.
So I’ve been considering the benefits of taking extended time away from creativity, even though on the surface it can seem to only be a negative for most people. For me, these 5 months back in my home country without a guitar have rejuvenated my drive and broken some boring and uninspiring habits I was falling into on the instrument.
Another interesting hurdle I had to get over was the fear of picking up the guitar once it was finally in front of me and simply not playing it as well as I can, or could before. Admittedly, this only takes a few hours to rectify but it was actually crippling for me, to the point where I’d find myself glancing at the guitar in the corner of the room and feeling a pang of guilt. It’s such a strange and conflicting feeling because I was so sure I had just spent 5 guitarless months wishing I could pick one up and noodle around on one and just scratch that itch. I suppose the mind is a powerful thing, both positively and negatively.
Fast forward to now and I’m writing this after an inspiring day of playing and writing, feeling like I’m back where I’d like to be. Freeing and exciting. All that good stuff.
I guess the point is that I was reminded that these creative pauses are not only challenging, but also healthy. Maybe 5 whole months isn’t necessary. Maybe 5 days will do the trick. However, whatever someone’s outlet is, some sort of time away from it with a shifted focus toward other aspects of life should be invited and seen as a positive part of one’s creative journey.