‘Unless I write something, anything, good, indifferent or trashy, every day, I feel ill.’

W.H Auden said and it’s an observation many will agree with. If you are a writer, you write and that appears to be the same need felt whichever creative medium you find yourself drawn to – it may be even be making bread. Certainly all who spend time in the writing retreat seem to wrestle with the need to work every single day whether they feel like it or not and it is extraordinary how driven everyone is who visits.

What is this need? If you are not being published, you don’t have an audience in mind, why is it critical to sit every day and puts words or images on paper? What is the point? I ask myself this question often and even wonder what life would be like if I wasn’t driven in this way. I have shifted the focus of my existence, unpicked all the stitches on my sampler and all there is left is the indent where the needle and thread have been – it’s not pretty but I could not bear the structure and tightness of the design I had constructed. Something seemed to keep saying, ‘you need to do more.’

Being a creative is about risk, every day I face the blank page and have absolutely no idea what shape my thoughts will take. Maybe it’s an addiction to risk? Maybe I am just too self-absorbed? Maybe it’s a mixture of both. Yet without the ritual of writing my journal, writing articles, writing another chapter of my book I am sunk. To quote Auden again he said,

 ‘The person who is worth anything is always I think alone……Artists are not nice people, all their best feelings go into their work, and life has the residue.

 It’s an interesting perspective and is an articulate way of explaining this obsession with creativity and is a powerful observation to make and I almost agree.

It seems to make no difference that work will be read, it may or not be, that is definitely not the driver. The need to bring some order to thought processes which are on-going, which feel as if they might spill over if they are not regularly drawn off is essential for me. Other people arrive at the retreat feeling in desperate need of space, tranquillity and the commitment they are actually going to be doing something purely for their artist. Sometimes we just need to make that decision against any rational or logical thought about whether we can afford the money, the time etc. One has to ask, ‘Can I afford not to give myself the opportunity to go on acreative or  writing  retreat?’ The answer may well be no, I’m guessing it will be.

I am interested to get to know all those readers from across the world and would love to know what your take on creativity is and how it impacts on your life. Do you share the feeling of not being in control of the process but knowing it has to happen regardless? What is your ideal and inspirational environment? Do drop me aa comment and there is always room for a guest blogger. I look forward to hearing from you.

I hope you have a productive day and you can provide a retreat for yourself wherever you happen to be. See you tomorrow.

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