by Jerrica, Her Grace of Grammar
I've started to notice a pattern, not just in my life, but in the lives of many artists, whether they be writers, performers, painters, etc... And that pattern indicates that the happier you are in real life, the less likely you are to produce work...or quality work, at least.
Okay, I might be exaggerating, and I'm sure there are people out there who have perfectly fantastic lives and still manage to pump out quality art...I, myself, manage to do it from time to time, but I'm not nearly as prolific as I used to be.
5.5 years ago when I began to write, I was in a poopy place in life. I had my husband, but that was about it. Our living environment sucked. We were in a 5th floor, pre-war walk-up in Harlem, which some might immediately think of as "charming," but let me set the record straight. There's nothing charming about roach colonies living behind your kitchen cabinets. Or thumping ghetto music coming through your walls at all hours of the night. Or your bathroom ceiling caving in at 2am because the sheet rock couldn't handle the mold anymore. If you find that charming, then there's something wrong with you.
Oh, and we had no money. So yeah...pretty much sucked. But what I did have was writing. A beautiful, glorious escape from my crappy apartment, my empty bank account and my multi-legged roommates.
At the time, my husband was working a weekend job at an investment bank -- 12 hours Saturday, 12 hours Sunday. So I holed myself away, clickety-clicking at my keyboard, thousands upon thousands of words, stories and scenarios swirling through my head. Writer's Block didn't exist in those days. And amazingly, I had tons of time to read too! I'd call them the "Good ol' days," but well...see the part about the roach colonies...
So fast forward a couple of years to us living in a stunning apartment, with our own business that was actually making us money for the first time in our life together. Writing started to get a little harder. I'd go through periods of procrastination and call it Writer's Block. I'd blow off my characters to go do something fun that I hadn't been able to afford before -- like a movie or shopping or bar hopping. But I still had my cushy part time job where I was able to write in quiet for 15 hours a week, and I was still slightly unhappy because I wasn't getting pregnant, so I had *some* fuel for my fire.
But then, well, things got awesome. I got pregnant, we moved to an even bigger and better apartment, the business took off, the books took off, I had my daughter, I made tons of new friends, the businesses continued to thrive...
And then we moved to paradise.
Somehow I thought that moving here would spark my creativity. That life would slow down and I'd be on the beach, all prolific again.
Well, I *am* on the beach right now, sitting under a cabana, typing this blog as I stare out at the ocean, and guess what...
I got nuthin'. Zilch. I'm too darn happy, people! And I can't write when everything is so darn perfect!
But would I trade it? Would I trade this incredible life to be able to pump out 3-4 books a year like I used to? Nah. I don't think so.
However, what I *am* going to do is march myself over to the mall, sit on Santa's lap, and tell him that what I really, really, really want for Christmas is to have my cake and eat it too. I want this awesome life AND I want to be able to pump out 3 books a year with the same ease I pumped them out 5 years ago.
What about you? As a writer, or an artist of any kind, do you struggle with producing your art when you're happy? And when you go sit on Santa's lap this year, what will you ask him for??