Mara's Musings

Moments from a Mid Life Crisis

Midlife and Creative Desires – AKA, how I got to do this blog

September 2, 2017

This blog is the culmination of a few things but in the most part a nagging supportive husband and people constantly telling me, ‘you really should write’. Apparently I’m quite good at it and as midlife is allegedly a time where one can release ones creative impulses here goes nothing!

After months – or rather years – of nagging encouragement by said husband I finally started to get my act together in the form of buying a couple of books about the writing process. The first was entitled Writing Down the Bones, an astoundingly good read by Natalie Goldberg and the second The Butterfly Hours by a woman called Patty Dannm (links here if you’re interested). Essentially the main message is that if you want to write you have to write, about anything and everything. I gave it a go and this is where my pen took me.

I always used to write as a child, in fact, creative writing was one of my favourite subjects when I was at school and although I was not always that original back then I enjoyed it and had the confidence to do it. I even used to illustrate some of them with either images of the main protagonists (usually horses back then, like many a small girl I had a thing for horses!) but also with maps which were bizarrely Tolkien-esque considering I had never heard of him at that stage. I would spend hours on these maps penciling in details like forests and mountains before colouring them in. This artistic creativity also stopped at some point and although I used to be sure of when and why that happened, on reflection I am not so sure.

I can remember vividly being ridiculed for my artwork in primary school (because as we know every 5 year old is secretly Rembrandt and is just not trying hard enough!) and I had always put my lack of confidence in any form of creative work down to that, but thinking back on it I was still drawing and writing throughout my school years, and indeed after I left school. It wasn’t as if I expected anyone to read or look at my writing or art, I did it out of enjoyment for myself and then suddenly I stopped. Maybe I did get to thinking, ‘I hope no one every reads this, or views my artwork’, but actually was it that terrible? So terrible that it should prevent me from ever picking up a pen or opening a sketchbook? In fact I see plenty of creative people producing stuff I don’t particularly like, it’s all subjective at the end of the day. The only thing they actually have that I lack is the confidence and the willingness to actually do it!

So ultimately I guess it is that old feeling that what I want to do is actually not important enough to set time aside for – after all I am not producing masterpieces, a magnum opus, earning my first million or being available to meet the needs of other people. Why is it that my wanting to spend my time on doing what I want to do is considered less important or valid (by me) than doing something else? Ultimately I guess what is important is what I am going to do about it. I’ve been lucky in that I have been surrounded by a lot of brave, talented and creative women where I live, constantly a source of inspiration and also a hugely nagging supportive husband who has really made it his mission to release the creative inner me. So I guess this is the first step. Be gentle with me!


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