Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Creative Block"

When do you find time to be yourself?   The self you are outside of medicine and parenthood? (Maybe the glimpse of a self you were before medicine and parenthood?)  Outside of being a pathologist and parent I also derive joy from making art.  Well, maybe not immediate joy, but it is a sort of deep satisfaction.  I see making art like I see working out: Sometimes it sucks when I'm doing it, but afterwards I always feel better that I did it.  When I finish a painting and I’m happy with it, I feel the same deep satisfaction and pride that I do when I look at my beautiful little boy.    

But when I say “time” I’m not talking about the hours and minutes.  I have hours and minutes.  My toddler goes to bed at 8 pm every night.  My husband splits the housework and childcare with me.  I go to bed at 11.  That’s almost 3 hours each night that I should technically have to myself.  But I find myself too tired to use it effectively.   I have the time but not the energy to be creative.  I feel like it’s all drained from me by the time our baby is in bed.  And maybe that’s to be expected.  I work full time.  We have an 18 month old.  To be creative you have to have a certain amount of energy.  Those three hours are also the only time I have to get my ADLs done...shopping, taxes, doing the dishes.  Even as I sit here writing this at 9 pm, I’m so so tired.  My eyes hurt.  I’m tempted to throw up my hands, give up.  Make my tea and read a book (sadly sometimes merely Facebook).  I even have a studio and a painting I’m currently working on (sporadically).  But the time I’m in there is often so infrequent that I can’t remember what colors I was using each time I return.  I have completed precisely one piece of art since our son was born.  When we bought our house I picked out the room I would use as a studio.  My husband is proud of me that I do this other thing outside of medicine.  But sometimes I tell him that it’s silly that I have this whole room to myself when I barely use it.  I have had other dry spells in my life that were not related to having a baby.  So maybe having a baby is just an excuse?  Or maybe there is something to this feeling of being spent, dissipated at the end of the day that leaves no room for creativity?  

I haven't written on MiM as much as I planned to either....Sometimes a blank word document is just as terrifying as a blank canvas.  What do other MiMs do to keep themselves creative?   How do you find the energy? 


  1. Have you tried just going to bed when you get tired, rather than at 11? My brain also needs to be rested in order to be creative. Perhaps going to bed an hour earlier and getting up an hour earlier would be helpful to you. Personally, I cannot do this, but many others have had success with this strategy.

  2. For me it's wine. It puts some people to sleep, but a couple of glasses energizes me and unleashes creative energy at night. I use music to wind down to fall asleep before midnight. Without music I'd be up all night.

  3. I found that I was giving myself the "dregs" for me time. I'm a morning person and so by the time night rolls around I'm tired. I also realized that if the me time only allowed me to do chores then I just didn't have enough me time. So I added in me time during the days. I arranged my clinic schedule so I have a few mornings a month. I do catching up on work but I may have a chance to go to a doctors appointment, get some shopping done, go to the gym, or spend time reflecting. Taking care of myself pays off in the long run--I sometimes feel guilty having time during the day that I'm not seeing patients--but I'm a much better mom, doctor, human for it and tons more efficient. So I guess my answer is you probably just need MORE me time.


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