I’ve been wanting to address this topic for months. When it comes to enhancing our creativity & improving our writing, we always see the need to take in. Take in the world, different experiences with different people, different places, & trying different things. But, we hardly see anyone discuss the benefits of letting go for your creativity & the journey towards doing so.
But first, a brief update!
I am getting my next short story + poetry book together! I’d like to release it sometime in 2022, but I’m not putting pressure on myself to make that happen. Fragile was pretty personal, but this one will be really personal & a lot more reflective of my own experiences in this thing called life over the past few years. So, I really want the final product & the release to be on point more so than “on time”.
Outside of writing, I’ve been releasing a lot lately. 2021 said I’m not coming out of it with many of the same people & thoughts I came into it with & meant that. Relationships & friendships have run their course, & even old visions of my life I always had are gone as new goals have been created. So much about me & my world is changing, which I suppose matches all the change currently taking place in the world, in general. & a lot of introspection & shadow work is being done, hence my deeper reflections about what all this change & letting go of what no longer serves truly means to me.
So, let’s get into the good stuff, shall we?
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(I’ll start by saying, I am not a therapist & nothing written in this post is advice. This is just me running my mouth from my own personal experience and reflections. I hope it can be helpful to someone, so please take what resonates & simply leave the rest. Love y’all!)
As we go out & live, we encounter many different situations & interactions. Some are amazing & fill & uplift us while others may leave us feeling depleted and/or down. We may take in beauty & make healthy connections, or end up with sour feelings that threaten to take us out of alignment with the best versions of ourselves – such as resentment, regret, or trauma, to name a few. We have to receive all of these things – the good & the bad – to truly get the most out of life. And a lot of times, just as easy as it is to hold on to the good, we tend to hold on to the bad.
It is important for us to acknowledge & allow ourselves to fully feel negative emotions, but when we let them overstay their welcome is when we risk inflicting more damage on ourselves. A word.
The Benefits of Feeling Our Emotions (for Your Creativity)
So, recognizing & sitting with the good & bad that comes with the ups & downs of life is essential. This is how we learn what is & is not meant for us. And how we know what changes to make to move forward into better for our future selves.
The past few months I’ve been very alone. The only other time in my life I’ve been close to this level of solitude was 2015 (while I was writing AWAY! You can read about that time in my life here), but back then I was not happy about it at all. This time, I am actually loving this time to myself so much. I’ve spent it really getting to know myself on a deeper level & pouring into the woman I want to be. And in all this introspection & learning who I am, I realized my affinity with repressing thoughts & feelings. Hurtful events have occurred & I’ve tended to deal with them by pushing the effects so far back in my mind & even burying them under better memories in order for me to feel better. I’ve managed to convince myself that difficult feelings I had after negative experiences weren’t as bad as they actually were. This might not make sense / may sound crazy, but it’s true! I used to deal with things by hardly dealing with them at all. Over the past few years I’ve gotten better with this. I give myself hella time & grace to process whatever & allow myself to naturally move on in my own time. And during the processing, I saw how helpful it was to let those difficult emotions inspire my art.
As we feel our emotions, a benefit of this stage is having the opportunity to transform something painful into something beautiful. I love this post by Sally Fox on Medium about alchemizing your emotions.
Related Post: 3 Easy & Unconventional Ways to Enhance Your Creativity
Yet, while this is a benefit, we have to be careful not to make it a requirement for our creative processes.
For a while, I would depend on feeling down in order to write. Maybe because I was feeling down when I wrote my first book, but when things were going well I was having a hard time getting inspired. I really believed I had to be hurt in order to write, & as wild as that sounds now, at that time it made sense to me! Thankfully, I’m stubborn & simply wouldn’t accept it, which is when I started actively seeking inspiration in whatever I could by studying my surroundings & making myself purge thoughts about it all on a page. That’s when I learned I could find inspiration in anything, but the battle with myself leading up to that was super sick.
We can use our times of pain to create, but when the pain is ready to pass, let it pass. Don’t depend on it. Maybe a post will come later on how I alchemize my emotions! Let me know if that would be a dope topic to cover.
Related Post: Inspiration: Defined & Where I Find It
Finally… the Benefits of Letting Go (For Your Creativity)
Now, after we recognize & feel these emotions, we let them run their course. Do not let them overstay their welcome. Stress decreases our focus & memory functions. And according to this article from the American Psychological Association, sadness is proven to inhibit new ideas.
As previously mentioned, sometimes it is just as easy to hold on to negativity as it is to hold on to positivity. Or maybe we go through things that are harder to let go of. Maybe someone disappointed us, or we disappointed ourselves. We want to place blame & punish the “source” of our pain. But it’s not cliche when people say holding on to negative feels any longer than needed only really hurts ourselves in the long run. You’re risking your well-being in the process of trying to punish someone for wronging you, therefore wronging yourself just the way that someone wronged you. Holding on to negative emotions and experiences impacts our mental & emotional, & even our physical health. It weighs us down & prevents us from effectively accepting our lessons & moving on to do & be better. We keep ourselves frozen in time, right where it hurts. And with all parts of ourselves affected by this, our art suffers. Our minds are clouded & energy is blocked.
So, don’t hold on, okay? Let it all come when it comes & go when it goes. We cannot control what life throws at us, but we can control what we internalize & how we react. Move with love for yourself at all times & your art will always be better for it, because you will always be better for it. You can create amazing things out of joy & they can be just as powerful as what is created out of pain. Because what lies behind it all is passion, & that doesn’t need a certain feeling on either side to present itself, just activation in either direction.
Let me know if you’ve experienced the benefits of letting go of difficult emotions and situations for your art! Or if you have had similar experiences when it comes to processing your emotions & difficult times like I have! We could all learn from each other & use some tips to help us do better for the sake of ourselves and our creativity! xo
PS: How are we feeling about the audio option?☺️
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