I like what coach and poet Mark McGuinness has to say about Creative Burnout, especially “control freakery.” I relate to the creative rock star who gets to do what she loves and is surrounded by adoring fans – in my case, a community who loves to encourage me as much as I love to encourage them.
And I also relate to the need to sometimes walk away from it all.
But this isn’t easy to do.
As a business owner, I was nervous about the plan I’d made in June, to take September off and walk the Camino de Santiago. In the eight years I’ve been a writing coach, I’ve learned that business stops when you stop responding to people. My break would mean taking a month off, disconnecting my phone, and allowing my students to sit idle and un-encouraged for thirty days.
But I also began to realize I was modeling relentless activity, and a life leashed to a computer. Unlike Stephen King, who purportedly never takes a vacation from writing, I must take a creative break.
So I left. Crossed my fingers and threw my cares to the wind.
The wind blew on my community while I was gone, rustling up this writer, that encourager, that artist. Groups met without me. Creativity thrived.
This wouldn’t have been possible without Edee, who hosted Wildfire Wednesday at Cascade Park Library in September. Edee makes my job easy because she is teachable, committed, open-minded yet confident in her talent. She is a people person and yet a solitary artist. Her work astounds the reader. Not only did she take over the library night, but she let me know I wasn’t forgotten while I walked.
It wouldn’t have possible without Patty. Patty rustled up the evening Wildfire Writing Master class, finding a temporary location, sending announcements. This imaginative writer and caring, even-tempered, listener has one of the most amazing combinations of talent that I’ve ever met in one human being.
And then there was Jenna, my fellow coach and dear friend. She kept the enthusiasm going for the artists group I facilitate and roused the troops at Rouse. She listened to my pre-trip jitters and post-trip overwhelm. She wired me support on the airwaves – I felt it all.
Being a creative rock star loses its glitz when you start thinking you have to do everything, all by yourself. Being surrounded by willing, giving human beings is what it’s all about.
Thanks to these three, and to all of you, the music plays on.
Rules for community engagement: Don’t be a lone rock star. Let shine the leadership gifts of those around you.