First off- I’d like to start this post by saying I love my wife VERY much.
I remember when we first started dating I was blown away by her ability to open her mouth and project sounds that didn’t resemble a dying animal (Note: I really cannot sing). I was even more impressed when she proved she could play guitar while singing AT THE SAME TIME.
I was quickly wooed over by her angelic voice and killer instrumental skills. But, little did I know, I would eventually be a band wife. And band wives have a lot of duties and unwritten rules.
Here are the things NO ONE tells you when you start dating a musician:
- There will rarely be quiet time again: In the shower? Singing. Trying to nap? Guitar solos trailing up the stairs. In the middle of a conversation? Singing again. In bed? Drums blasting downstairs.
- Your basement is no longer YOUR basement. It belongs to the music now: I’ve always been cool with her creating a recording studio space in our basements (even when we lived in tiny houses that could have benefitted from some extra space). What I didn’t expect was that she would hunt the house for every single blanket we own and create what looks like a giant blanket fort in our basement to absorb echoes and create the ultimate recording situation. Now, when I walk into the basement I am greeted by blankets hanging from the ceiling acting as doors as I make my way to the laundry room. Plus side? She has volunteered to do more laundry now.
- You will be expected to attend shows of people you’ve never heard of: I’m totally cool with this one… except when the people mega suck and she still suggests we see them. :’)
- She will spend hours in the blanket basement at one time and will request that you don’t make a sound: That means no showering. No walking around. No breathing. Okay- the last one was a joke.
- You may end up doubling as her Manager/Tour Planner: Again- totally cool with this one because I love planning events. I do wish I got to go on the tour though… 😉
- The bandmates become your great friends: Or in our case- the best men at our wedding.
- You’ll probably end up running the merch table…
- You’ll start listening to music differently… Listen to that Vibrato damn.
- She’ll make you fall in love again and again with every song she writes about you. (Especially when she sings it for you at your wedding in front of everybody.)
- And you will especially love the way she serenades the dog. Now if only we could teach him to sing back.
Based on this list… I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Just means I can be her biggest fan.
When I wrote my first book Waves, a poetry book surrounding my experiences with mental illness, (Purchase here) I found it incredibly hard to stay inspired and motivated. It took me years (more than 5…) to compile all of the poems, edit, format, hire an artist and get the books made. My problem wasn’t that I was lazy or even too busy. It was that I was lacking inspiration which translated into lacking motivation!
Inspiration = Motivation
Struggling with depression and anxiety can make finding inspiration and motivation difficult at times. When all I can focus on is not having a panic attack when I’m at work and not letting the depression consume my energy, there isn’t much room left in my brain to become inspired by the world around me. This translates for any mental illness. They take up so much room in our brains, and in our lives, that other aspects of life sometimes get pushed to the back burner. But, there is hope.
Here are steps that I’ve found to be helpful when struggling with writers block/ lack of creativity and have had a hard time staying inspired and finding motivation.
- Get out of your normal space. Seriously, your wallpaper isn’t changing. You need to go outside, to a coffee shop, on the bus, to a mall, anywhere that has stimuli you aren’t used to. (When I used to take the bus, I would imagine the lives of different people on the bus and I would write poems about them.) This is a prime example of how leaving whats comfortable a.k.a home, for something far less comfortable.
- Expose yourself to new/different creative content. New music, books, exercises and even movies has left me feeling inspired in the middle of a depressive episode. I’ve gone to different art shows and yoga classes and music festivals in the past that have filled me with enough inspiration to write new poems.
- Foster a space for creativity to bloom. When you do create inside, try to create a space that’s comfortable and has the tools you need to be creative. If you know you like to paint with music that inspires you or takes you back to a specific time on, make sure there’s a music device in the room. If you know you have to be sitting comfortably to write, make sure you have a decent chair and some fluffy pillows. A space that is comfortable and inviting will likely lure you in more often, which hopefully leads to inspiration and creativity. (I’ll include a list of my creative space must-haves in the next post!)
- Connect with other artists. As someone with extreme social anxiety, this one is still a struggle for me. But, when I force myself out of my comfortable space and collaborate with others, I find it to be extremely inspirational.When writing Waves, I hired an artist who’s work I loved. But I also loved our coffee shop meetings. I found we both had the ability to inspire each other. It might not happen each time you hang out, but when it does happen it’ll be worth it.
- Force it. When all else fails, force it. I don’t believe creativity can be forced. But, I do believe if you force yourself to sit in your comfortable space, or in a new space with room for inspiration, you will likely notice by the end of the time you’ve spent, you will have created something. I used to force myself to write when I was at coffee shops between classes or when I was off work and bored at home. I’d usually start doodling and just playing with my phone. But, eventually some sort of magic would usually happen. Just holding the pen would ignite a certain flame in my brain and the words would eventually flow. If you’re a painter pick up the brush. A musician? Pick up the instrument. A writer? Pick up the pen. This rings true for just about anything. Starting is the hardest part.
I hope at least one of these can help all you creatives who struggle with mental health and/or finding inspiration and motivation. ❤