Before you know it, it’s upon you… The meagerness.
The meagerness is what Van Gogh (sorry, I’m on a Van Gogh kick as of late) called that dull feeling of having the life sucked out of your soul, out of your fingertips, out of your eyeballs and mouth.
You’re spent. You have nothing to give. Nothing to pour forth into your creative endeavors let alone your life.
It happens slowly. One day, things are fine. You’re flowing. Unstoppable.
The next day, not so much. Like a lawnmower on a frosty morning, it takes some pulling to get you started.
Soon, it’s over you like a thick blanket of fog. No light gets in. No light gets out.
We’re all different. I can only speak from my experience here, but when I feel the meagerness upon me, it usually comes from one of a few things…
A) Overwork — I’m the kind of guy who needs to be able to play around. Too many deadlines make me itchy. Now, this doesn’t mean I need leisure. Too much leisure makes me feel even more drained. But I have to be able to play with my work. To try different things out. And to create obligation-free.
B) Lack of physical activity — This has been the tough one lately. I gotta get out and move. Again, not in an obligatory way. But more so in a carefree way. I have to be able to tap into the animal side of my humanity. Animals were born to roam. You don’t see any orangutans with a workout schedule. But they’re always moving, lifting, jumping, and generally kicking ass. I need to do more ass-kicking right now.
C) Not enough structure — I know. This one contradicts (A). That’s okay. I can hold two opposing ideas in my head at the same time. Just watch me. When I don’t have structure, when I don’t have some deadlines or to-do’s, I will flounder about until I wake up in an Oreo-induced coma in front of 87 open tabs on my browser from varying Google searches that range from“How to tune up a 1990 Isuzu Trooper” to “How to make a shit load of money online with zero effort.” Gimmie some structure, world.
Basically, for me, it boils down to having a good balance of tangible, results-driven work and freedom to play. If I can find this balance, I can get the meagerness behind me.