Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Learning Self-Kindness in the Crazy, Lazy, Creative Daze of Summer

Ah, summertime!

[caption id="attachment_6902" align="aligncenter" width="584"]A walk on a summer day. A walk on a summer day.[/caption]

Long days, short nights, an abundance of time to accomplish all kinds of projects and plans, or simply sit and do nothing . . .

Too bad the nothing so often overwhelms the something.

In many ways, I know that I'm a lucky person. While I work hard year round, I have this incredible opportunity each and every summer. I come to a place where I am surrounded by talented, creative people, in a destination town where the wealthy gather to visit their multi-million dollar summer homes and float around on their boats which probably cost more than I make in a year. While I technically have a job here, it doesn't take up much time, and my main responsibility is parenting Sarah. However, because of where and how we live, Sarah has a lot of freedom to wander and explore on her own, which leaves me an abundance of time to do with as I will.

[caption id="attachment_6900" align="aligncenter" width="584"]Looking for inspiration at the top of the ferris wheel. Looking for inspiration at the top of the ferris wheel.[/caption]

So you would think I would be producing a lot of creative work, wouldn't you?  But here's the funny thing--when you live a life of a creative person striving to kick start a career in being creative in numerous ways, and juggling all of the ideas bouncing around in your brain, you NEVER feel like you're doing enough. You ALWAYS feel like you need to work bigger, harder, faster and achieve more so that maybe--just maybe--you will finally capture the prize whatever that may be.

Today the fabulous Andra Watkins asked, "How do you fill your creative tank?" and I didn't know how to answer. We all need to fill it once in a while. If we want to continue to create and not become stuck in ruts dug by our own work, we need to stop for a moment in time, to drink in the beauty, the stories, the life that surrounds us.

[caption id="attachment_6901" align="aligncenter" width="584"]A nearly full moon, some clouds, a barge on the lake . . . good place to find some creative inspiration. A nearly full moon, some clouds, a barge on the lake . . . good place to find some creative inspiration.[/caption]

But sometimes, when I am being the hardest on myself, I feel like those pauses are just excuses. I ask myself., How can I take time off to absorb and live when I haven't yet accomplished my goals?

I really need to stop being such a hard task master.

Because here's the reality. In the month that I have been here I have:
  • written, submitted, revised and resubmitted a short story for an anthology
  • revised a different short story which should be published in Theme-Thology: Invasion this September
  • almost completed another revision of THE POWER OF WORDS, after a complete rewrite last month
  • Written 11 blog posts (12 if you count this one). Of course, for someone who used to blog daily that seems weak, but . . .
  • almost finished the syllabi for three different classes, all which pose creative challenges. Almost completed all the assignment descriptions and accompanying material as well.
  • Read something like 10 books if not more(I lost count)
  • Worked with 5 different casts for the touring show I'm "coordinating"
  • seen 7 different plays
  • taken 100s of photos
  • met interesting new people
  • driven back and forth to Minneapolis (with another trip tomorrow)
  • driven back and forth to Sioux Falls
  • written a few letters and lots of e-mails
  • drew a few zentangles
  • started a new puppet play or story . . . we'll see what happens
  • sang with The Spirit of Harmony chorus just for fun
  • listened to big band
  • danced to a jazz and blues singer as the sun set
  • The view as we listened to music and danced.
The view as we listened to music and danced.

I'd say that is a lot of creative juggling, wouldn't you? Yet, as usual I beat myself up over the fact that I didn't blog once last week, or that I still haven't come up with a list of agents to submit to and find excuses why I can't do that yet.

I need to stop doing that.

Because here's the reality. Life is a creative act. Living each day to embrace possibilities also "fills our creative tanks." Anyone who looks at the world for story--whether we tell those stories in art, on the stage, in song, or in the written word--must remember to live first and foremost, because without those moments of stillness, of beauty, of life, we will have no stories to tell.

So I guess my answer to Andra's question is really very simple. I fill my creative tanks by living, loving, and watching the world as it happens.



From there, I hope, creativity will be born.

Lesson learned.

What do you do when you feel like you aren't doing enough?