Outlets

Last night while getting ready for bed I had a revelation about myself that I wanted to document.

For years and years, I would get irritable, cranky and worse if I didn’t get to write for an extended period of time (read: about a week). I needed that creative release, and anyone who knows me well will tell you how much being a writer is part of who I am. True, I might write while at work, but if I didn’t get time at least five days a week to work on my own stuff, I became a fatalistic old growlybear.

I realized last night I hadn’t done that particular morph in probably a year and a half. What happened in that time?

I took up the guitar.

When I did – and especially when songs started coming out of me (I originally picked up the guitar because I’ve always wanted to play an instrument and wanted to play songs by others that I’ve always admired), I was afraid that it would interfere with my work as a novelist. But it hasn’t. I have found now that it has actually enhanced it. By having that additional creative outlet, it has taken the nervous edge off of that creative tension and let me focus more on the work at hand.

And it’s enough of an outlet to keep me from going all Mr. Hyde when I don’t get to sit down at the word processor.

Last week I talked here about how people in fields of creative endeavor tended to find a second outlet different from what they were doing as a form of recreation. Now I really understand why.

It’s not a diversion. It’s necessary.

NP – WHLO-AM, The Bill Hall Show

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