10 June 2016

Day 30: On Setting Creative Boundaries

via wilwheaton.net

A sucker for blue eyes and mood lighting, I didn't need to see who was actually posting the link to this photograph to convince me to click

And then I saw it was Wil Wheaton. 

While I haven't been keeping up with Wil's life reboot as closely as my inner 9 year old fan girl would like to, I've always had mad respect for Wil's journey. He's a hero of sorts, even though he never really signed up to be.

What makes Wil an unlikely hero? 

  1. He knows his shit - Actor, writer, director, TV show host, gamer, geek, helped of humans, father, husband, lover of cool shit. 
  2. He does shit - Writing (this was book that solidified my nerdcrush), gaming on TV, creating cool resources for geeks and rebooting his entire life so he can feel better? YUSSSS!
  3. He makes times for shit - See reboot comment above, the post Wil wrote about his reboot and rest of blog post for deets
I'll leave it to you to take it upon yourself to read about his journey. I can only say it's interesting and inspiring as hell, especially from the standpoint of a fellow creative human in a similar struggle.

Being an adult means you have to do all these things you don't wanna do. When "old people" who were like in their 30s used to tell me to take care of myself cos it gets harder, I didn't wanna believe them. And I wouldn't have unless I lived with & cared for awesome grandparents with failing health.

Okay, adulting - you win.

Then I decided to live a life in which I also did creative schtuff. This is great when you have a supportive community around you (family, friends, Etsy homies). I was blessed enough to have that.  And like Wil, knowing that there's a creative community out there that enjoys and thrives off your contributions can make you feel a huge sense of duty to them... even to the point that you put them before yourself.

So when you start the inevitable burn out that comes with giving to a community, your friends who are going though some shit and your family, you start to think about who's gonna take care of you.  
Then, in a weird lucid moment that usually accompanies a pile of all-nighters you pulled to make deadlines, you realize that's YOUR job.



Taking care of other people is easy for me. I enjoy helping other humans and I don't suck at it. People have told me this. Should you need them, I am more than willing to provide several letters of reference. *cheeky wink*

But taking care of myself? NOPE! Gross.

Wil made a conscious decision to set creative boundaries when he said he wasn't going to cons this summer. And speaking from the nerd business perspective, this was a f*ckin' bold move on his part.

I have to stay home and write. I have to find my way back to the art. I have to find my way back to being a creative person who makes stories and characters and creative things, instead of being a person who hosts stuff, does things which are transactional nonfiction, and spends lots of time on the road talking about those things.

Ruh-roh! That highlighted line hit me deep in my guts. 

The truth is that I'm on a different creative level that Mr. Wheaton, but it does not diminish the fact that I spend time talking about things, gathering info, researching and planning out things. This all takes up about 99% of my time. The rest of it is devoted to family. So when I'm faced with DOING the actual creative things I set out to do... I'm burned out.

So - if I were one of my clients, I would tell myself to stop doing all the things and make time for myself. This is what my editor has been telling me for about 6 weeks.


It took reading about how someone else needed to set up his creative boundaries to get myself to the point where I could honestly say I needed to carve out personal time. I only didn't want to do that because all of the active socializing has been incredibly helpful thus far and has really started to shape how I approach this book writing process.

But then you'd gotta write.

So I will. I will schedule time and I will sit down to do that chunk of writing.

Then I will schedule in more time to set up nerd JERK patterns.

And then I will schedule time to snuggle my family. Okay - maybe I'll sneak in some snuggling.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog and/or peeking in to see how it's going. I truly appreciate the kind comments about enjoying this so far. 

I may not be consistent, but at least I do some of the things. I was setting some boundaries I didn't even realize I needed.

- Steph


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