I like to think of myself as a creative person. I enjoy theater, singing, poetry, photography, filming and of course writing. These outlets are ways for me to express myself, have fun and feel productive all at the same time.
During times where I’m feeling very depressed, I have a hard time channeling my creative juices, which only worsens my mood further.
And forcing myself to try and do these things without any inspiration has often lead to work so mediocre that I found myself feeling even more discouraged. (And as a yearly participate of National Novel Writing Month, I know all about forcing yourself to write without inspiration, it isn’t pretty.)
The Depression Report was a result of a frustrated free writing exercise. I felt the need to get creative but found myself floundering on ideas so I wrote about what I was feeling – my depression.
Soon I found myself with a handful of blogs about my struggles with mental illness and suddenly I was reading articles, watching documentaries and even searching on twitter for things related to mental illness.
In college I had taken an entrepreneurial journalism class where we spent the semester learning how to run our own blogs regarding a niche news topic. (Mine had been a news blog about Youtube).
Suddenly it clicked, that I should take that personal exercise and try to do more with it creatively and professionally.
With the ever elusive inspiration back in my grasp, things began to change. Instead of spending late nights thinking about my failures, I spent them navigating the confusing world of wordpress and tinkering with photo editing tools. I was blogging about my feelings and researching statistics on mental illness. I had found a way to become excited creatively and professionally.
It took a lot of time to find the right thing to spark that creativity again, but it happened. Finally.
And it’s not always consistent. After spending a couple of weeks pouring myself into this project, there was a solid couple of months where my depression and personal life took a turn and I could no longer motivate myself to work.
But I didn’t let that frustrate me and soon found my fingers itching to get back to my keyboard.
Last week, I had a terrible Monday. It set the tone for the next couple of days. But on Saturday I went on a hike and took some pictures with my new camera and that blip of creativity was enough to lift my spirits so high.
Inspiration may be fickle, but it is never hopeless.
I’d love to hear about what ways you like to channel your creativity when you’re not feeling 100 percent.