Once, many months ago, this blog was a place for me to explore. I explored the history of cannabis, wandered through the rabbit holes of my mind, and talked about a variety of topics.
Lately that hasn’t been the case. There is no one to blame but myself, and the usually myriad of excuses about client work and the piling tasks of day-to-day life. It is both true and insufficient. If we want to do something, we make time for it. It is as simple as that.
Using this space as a forum for conversation was interesting, for a bit. I still have interviews I am sat on, and I am not proud of the delay in getting them live, but what was true for my own explorations became true for these conversations too. I will release these, and not do many more. If something piques my interest, they may pop up sporadically, but I am no longer committed to them.
What I explored deeply last year was what I lost this year – creativity. I buried myself in professional opportunities and personal milestones, and this year was a good one. I have so much to be grateful for, and so much to be proud of. And I am, deeply, for one of the first times in my life. I am incredibly proud of the work that I have done this year, both topically and in volume.
I have written 300 articles, with three days left in the year. That’s more than one article per working day (260 working days in 2022), I have read dozens of scientific studies, talked with some of the most intelligent and interesting people I’ve ever encountered. I answered medical questions, wrote original ideas, and built a body of work that any writer would be proud to call a portfolio.
In that much volume of work there must be systems. There must be efficiency and there must be something systematic in the approach. This takes time to establish, but once it is, the pieces flow. But there is little room for creativity in systems.
There is creativity in the topics, yes. There is creativity in the words. But creativity needs fewer boundaries, not more, to flow. Creativity is a delicate beast, as any writing book will tell you. It is fickle, and demanding, and requires submitting to whims, not systems.
So there comes a point in the year when something is missing. The wedding bells are rung, the sun has swung north, and no title on the bookshelf can hold my interest. I have come to stand still. I am producing, I am working, I am moving yes, and yet I am still.
In 2021, I focused heavily on creativity and routine. It may sound contradictory, but it worked. I dedicated time every day to my mat, to movement and stillness. My brain ran wild. I read the Artist’s Way, Writing Down the Bones, and Wild Mind. I started morning pages and meditation. I wrote blogs in a flash, whenever lightening struck. I followed a thought and sent it into the world. It was embarrassing and heart stopping and utterly worth it. I felt fulfilled.
I felt fulfilled creatively. My professional work, newly in the cannabis space, was lacking. I pushed where I could and when I was dealt a new hand in 2022, I played it. And this year, the opposite it true.
There is always an opportunity cost. Creative work like writing can only be pushed so hard before the words start to fall apart. There are only so many hours in a day your brain can do this work. There are only so many studies you can read before the screen starts to pulse in front of you, only so many articles to concept before storytelling falls off.
Mary Oliver says that artistic people live in a different world than everyone else, that clocks and appointments mean little to those who must respond when creativity finally calls. I find creative work to be antithesis to the capitalist world we live in, the focus on production and hours logged. Why spend eight hours writing when anything after hour four is going to be rubbish anyway? Why try to force creativity into the machine of production? It’s stronger than I am anyway.
I, like many others, tend to overestimate my resolve heading into a New Year. My resolutions list from last December is woefully half completed. I did not do half of the things I wanted to, or thought I could this year. But tomorrow, and the new year, is always a chance to do better. My resolutions list for 2023 will be smaller, less focused on the tangible and more on the abstract. But I do resolve to show up here more as myself. Maybe it’s just once a month. Maybe it’s just 400 words. But the pieces I was writing last year about hiking and yoga and meditation are the ones that bring me the most joy to read now. And while it’s always nice to share and find other people who enjoy your words, if I am not doing this for me then it’s not worth doing.