I re-read Steven Pressfield’s excellently brutal The War of Art over the weekend. It’s not really “poolside reading” but I still managed to get a sunburn because I got so engrossed in those essays. (Next time: more sunscreen.)
I used to be quite the personal drama addict. For about ten years, my creative productivity was basically nil, because who needs to create fictional drama when you’re the star of your own personal soap opera? Whenever things got boring, either The Man or I would find some way to throw a spanner into the works, and like magic, THINGS WERE SUDDENLY INCREDIBLY INTERESTING.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason “May you live in interesting times” is considered a curse in China. (Or whatever the Chinese translation of that phrase might be.)
Aside from wreaking havoc on your checkbook, your credit score, your blood pressure, your liver (“Thank you, sir, may I have another?”) and your waistline (stress eating, anyone?) personal drama really does leech away your creative juices. I suspect it may take a lot of unconscious/subconscious creativity to keep “unintentionally” finding oneself in one ridiculous situation after another. After all that, you don’t have a lot left for creative work.
I’m fully in agreement with Pressfield, and with Julia Cameron who similarly insists that you “Keep the drama on the page.” But aside from the warning that being a drama-magnet is creative suicide, I think there’s probably a need for something a little more action-oriented when it comes to “How do I do that when apparently I’m hard-wired for creating telenovela-grade absurd situations for myself?”
Mama Kat haz some tips. Some hard-won, practical, do-able tips that actually worked in “field testing” (aka my previously drama-choked life.) I’m feeling like it’s time to share.
Stay tuned, kiddos.
MORE ON THIS: Step 1: Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?
STILL MORE: Avoiding the Temptation of Drama