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Fun Unlocked My Creativity
The secret superpower that no one expects
Unboxing Chronic Creativity - 6 min read
When I imagine an author, I imagine a stoic, tortured soul staring blankly out the window. I recall artists as a range of crazy: some pompous, some starving, some oddly popular. Creators, in general, appear more high-strung than others. It’s rare to see one who isn’t undercutting their work. Many also have mental, physical, or both kinds of disease.
Creators are rarely seen as easy-going, fun-lovers.
I think YouTube, in part, has changed that. There’s still pressure to “hack” the algorithm and post enough to gather an audience. But those who are established often end up just…having fun! (At least the ones I watch)
I’ll admit I’ve fallen for the strict, get-everything-right perfectionism for many years. School hammered in grammatical rules. Certain teachers would wag fingers if it wasn’t done just right. Pressure from my mother’s own perfectionism passed to me.
I thought I had to do everything perfectly or else it wasn’t worth doing.
In ways, I still do. My art “business” has been halted due to me gearing up for new art, forgoing the few things I need to do to get my presence out there. My website still needs a shop, though I’ll be leaving my Etsy up for now. I need to actually promote my art.
I still put off writing and creating in favor of scrolling and binging YouTube. I like to hide in the hole of easy familiarity. Fun seems hard when it’s not tied to a game I can mindlessly click. Even though I love mobile & video games, they are my biggest distractions.
However, I’ve slowly chipped away at these habits.
Please remember that none of this is overnight. It took, unfortunately, years to get to my position. It may take you longer. It may not. Be gentle with yourself. That being said, here are two simple ways to start having more fun.
Take a break from your screen.
You don’t need a detox. If you’re glued to your screen 24/7, then maybe. But we’re talking easy steps. Take one fifteen-minute break from your phone. Don’t go talk with others. Don’t pull up your computer. Sit with your thoughts.
Screens of all sorts can deaden our internal voice.
We stop feeling and start numbing. Sometimes, we’re drawn into the negativity more than the positivity we see. But the biggest thing I’ve noticed is I start knowing how I’m feeling and what I truly want when I sit with myself for a few minutes a day.
You can’t find your next best idea or creation path if you’re constantly filling your mind with other’s opinions and mindless phone usage. So take a break. Just fifteen minutes per day. Heck, you can even start with five minutes. I suggest fifteen as I’ve been able to find my own thoughts by then, not just reactive emotions or consumed opinions.
Here’s a video that describes how this happens if you need the receipts.
Surround yourself with fun (AKA get out more)
This can be done in multiple ways. You can call up a friend you already have who is more laid-back than you. Start spending more time with them. You can also find a new friend. But, chances are, you already know some crazy, fun-loving people.
Connect with them and say yes when they ask you to do silly things.
This may start as simply going with them to the mall. Or they’ll ask you to see a movie later than you usually would. This can start small.
Don’t have friends like this? You can start going to your local Barnes & Noble Starbucks. I’ll guarantee you’ll have a few interesting conversations. Look into art-related events happening around you. You may make some connections or, if you’re lucky, fall into a wonderful community.
The main goal is to get out of your house and your own mind.
We’re usually too busy trying to concoct the perfect novel or the next best piece of art that we miss everything around us. Sometimes we need to strap our butt to the chair and work. But I do prescribe regular doses of getting out and having fun.
Because when we let ourselves have a break from the perfectionism, over-worked rabbit hole of a mind, we can gain inspiration, motivation, and fun.
Wishing you FUN this week!
Wait! I promised you a secret special thing, right? Because I’m 29 now, I want to share with you *drum roll*
The horror short I wrote this spring! It didn’t get published, so I thought I’d share. There’s some work I’d like to do to it before trying to publish it again. But, It’s yours to enjoy today!
The Shadows That Haunt Us
There's something that lurks just out of sight. It's tall, white, and has beady, red eyes. I've never stared long enough to know more. I forgot they returned today. They do every year.
My hand hovers over a small jar of peanut butter. It would fit perfectly in my pocket. I only need the clerk to be distracted by a customer. Then I could dash.
But now I'm frozen. I can't move. I chose this section of food because it felt safe. There are two ways to escape, and my head barely grazed above the third shelf. I'm hidden.
Now I'm corned by it. All I can hear is my breathing.
A woman walks into the aisle. Her jet-black hair grazes her shoulders, and her shirt is tucked into her jeans. She's carrying a shopping basket. However, her glasses catch my eye—circular and engulfs most of her face. She turns to look at me. A glare covers her lenses.
"Are you okay?" the woman asks.
I don't move. My hand remains in the air above the peanut butter. The woman kneels. Now uncovered, her gray-blue eyes lock with mine.
Her voice lowers.
"You see them too," she says.
"You'll be fine if you don't look them in the eyes. If you do, close your eyes and count to three. Only if you feel chill down your back does that mean you're in trouble," the woman pauses, "Where are your parents?"
I withdraw my hand from the peanut butter and break eye contact. The woman's look softens.
"It's not safe to be alone today. Would you mind staying with me?" the woman asks.
"Okay," I whisper, looking back at her. I didn't want to be alone anyway. In fact, I'd rather stay with a stranger. The woman smiles and then reaches past me to grab the peanut butter.
"What's your name?" the woman asks.
"Janette," I say.
"Mine's Alex," she says.
She motions for me to grab her hand. I do, and we approach the counter. Alex sets down the peanut butter and then unloads her basket: a meat knife, two metal locks, a rake wheel, and a few meat sticks. My eyes widen, and my stomach drops.
I forgot how terrifying the rake wheels are. Their sharp, metal spokes can dig so far into your hand that your only choice is to amputate it. I remember that day vividly. I only wanted some spare change for food, not to watch someone bleed.
We turn to walk out, and a man blocks us.
"Hey, where you think you goin’ with her?" he asks.
I see the thing slide back into my peripheral vision. Alex grabs my hand tighter.
"It's not your business," she says. The man ignores her and brushes a piece of hair out of my face. More red-eyed things appear behind the man. I glance up. They're not paying attention to me.
They're watching him.
"You don't see many of your kind around here," he says, wrapping a finger around a strand of my black curls. I pull away. Alex pushes him.
"I have other business to attend to if you don't mind-" she begins.
"What, you gonna sacrifice her?"
Alex pulls the meat knife out of her bag and holds it to his throat. Her hand holding mine grows cold.
"No, but if you don't move, grilled testicles will be on the menu."
The man puts his hands up. "Okay, easy."
He slides out of the way. We walk out. The red eyes follow us. I don't feel a chill, but Alex's hand is bone cold.
"They're not after you," she says.
"They're after you," I say.
There's a moment of silence while we head to a bright blue Mustang.
"That's the idea. Lure them away from the unsuspecting," Alex says. She wedges the meat knife behind her belt. "To the expecting."
Her house is old. Some boards are rotted. The paint is chipping. I assume it used to be blue. Well, bluer. Alex grabs the sack of items from the car and motions for me to follow. I hesitate.
It's not the most inviting. But I don't need to look back to know the things are there. I feel their red eyes boring into me. It's not safe to be alone.
I join her to the covered front deck. There's an upside-down horseshoe nailed to the door. While typically good luck, a horseshoe on the front door isn't. Between sifting through her keys, Alex glances at me and then back to the door.
"Another way to attract them," she says, "Keeps them coming in one door."
I nod, rubbing the back of my hand. The door shuts behind us, and we get to work. Boards go over the windows. A good luck charm is placed on the back door. Lastly, we fuel the old baler.
It's a giant piece of machinery. The shadow cast by the sunset envelopes us. The metal whines in the wind. Alex motions for me to steady the stained, red gas can.
"Why do you do this?" I ask. The man back at the store crosses my mind. "When some people are so...mean?"
"Few people can see them. Even fewer can do something about them," she pauses to look at me, "One mean person shouldn't stop you from doing good."
I'm given the meat knife and a peanut butter sandwich. Alex tells me to keep the door closed until morning. Then she leaves. A few minutes later, the baler shrieks to life. The screams continue through the night. I don't sleep; I wait.
It's hours before the sun glistens between the gaps in the boarded windows. The front door creaks open. Alex is covered in cuts, bruises, and green blood. She smiles.
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