I had another post planned for today, but I was pulled away in the middle of creating to deal with an important matter. To be frank, I was irritated. The interruptions happen all the time, and for the most part, I deal with it. But, I wanted to finish my story, and then put some time in on another project before I went to bed. All of the things my characters needed to say were right there! All I had to do was type them! But sometimes it’s hard to get people to understand that when they see me gazing of into the distance, or searching the web for more that five minutes, that I’m not doing “nothing.” It doesn’t mean I’m available to talk or focus on anything else. I’m creating. I’m a zone. I’m searching for inspiration. I’m looking for information on any number of topics because I don’t want to put something in a story that a reader will point out as inaccurate. I’m crafting a world for others to escape to. It takes time and energy and focus to do that.
There are a few things you can do to help the creative person in your life stay on task:
- Don’t assume they aren’t creating if you don’t see them writing, or painting, or sculpting they way YOU think they should. The creative process doesn’t always look like creating is happening.
- Ask, “Do you have a minute?” or, “Is this a good time?” – It’s a matter of courtesy. Again, when a creative person is in a zone, you don’t want to distract them. They may need a few minutes to finish pulling a thought together, or writing out a plan for a project. If it’s an urgent matter, let them know and be patient as they put their final touches on their work so that they can then give you their undivided attention.
- Don’t guilt trip them if they say, “No.” – If they don’t have time to focus on you, don’t take it personally. It may be as simple as they have a deadline to meet, and taking a break at that particular moment may be cutting into the time they have to complete their project.
- Don’t be discouraging. – Saying, “How come I haven’t seen your paintings hanging at the MET,” or, “It’s not like your on the New York Times Best Sellers List or something,” is rude and petty. People who manage to get their work in those types of spaces had to put in work! They had to focus on their craft. If you want to see their work celebrated and awarded, be a pal and speak words of encouragement, and then give them the time and space they need to work.
- Offer to bring them snacks. – Seriously. Creative people sometimes forget to eat. Fix them some tea and crackers. Bring them chocolate and a bottle of wine. Make them a steak and baked potato. This is how you show you care and they will thank you! (And as a bonus, you might be able to talk to them while they’re eating that steak!)