When You Feel Less-than-Creative

Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.
Paul Rudnick: American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist

So, here I am, at roughly 12:35AM (Eastern Standard Time, or UTC -5:00), and I am at a complete loss on how to continue the evening.  I want to do something creative: write a poem or short story about how I should have made this decision over that one; draw a picture of how I felt at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner (thankful to see them, but out of place); throw cotton swabs at a piece of watercolor paper smeared with gesso and connect the dots. But, I can’t find the mental motivation, the impetus to get away from this computer and actually do it.

(I realize that at this hour, I should be sleeping… or at least preparing for sleep. I have always been a night-owl, finding my deepest insights at the time that bedbugs are naturally inclined to creep through the mattress — that is, close to dawn, when the normal person is deepest asleep. But tonight, I find nothing but the computer screen, some online radio, and a game I shouldn’t waste my time playing, no matter how much I enjoy strategy and virtual warfare. To be short, I lack the ability to do something productive to(day/night).)

What bothers me most is that, later, I will be at work or getting ready to go to work, and PHOOSPAH! there it’ll be: the idea I’ve spent all night/week/month/a lifetime to find (to let find me). And, sadly, I will be unable to follow its creative paths until it is lost to me altogether. It will become as so many other ideas have become: a half-sleeping dream that flits in and out of my conscious awareness, only to escape again before I am able to grab a net or even lay out fly paper.

Somehow, I find happiness in the knowledge that — though I have yet to capture these creative outbursts — I have been able to see them, and will continue to do so. If only I could “reach the point where” I have no choice but to let those ideas free.