What to do When Feeling Creatively Verklempt? Fail at Something!
May 29, 2017
Verklempt, a Yiddish word that means “overcome with emotion.” Pronounced “fer-klempt,” people use it when they are so emotional that they’re on the verge of tears or at a loss for words due to their emotional state. (Origin: German verklemmt = emotionally inhibited in a convulsive way)
A couple of weeks ago I was on the road having dinner in Miami with an old friend. We were talking about how busy this year has been. I have flown all over and written many presentations on the fly. “What do you do when you are not feeling creative?” he asked. I responded with, “What do you mean?” I always feel creative. He explained, “You know like when you have writer’s block or just don’t feel like it.” I looked at him again and said, “I don’t get blocked, at least not yet anyway.” Up until that point it was true. Therefore for all the pain and suffering that happened after our little tete-a-tete, I blame YOU. YOU know who you are (Jonas) and if you don’t read this blog post then double shame on you.
What happened afterward was a much-needed two weeks at home. I had not had two consecutive weeks at home for over a year now and looked forward to this time to catch up on work and catch my breath from the break neck pace I have been keeping. Do you know what happened instead of a relaxing yet productive time at home? A lot of conflicted emotions and little else! Read on…
While I was traipsing around the globe this year my husband has taken care of our sons and working full-time. I came back at a key part of the school year with a different event or two every night. School plays, end of year concerts, celebration/award ceremonies, recitals, Confirmation for my older son, Graduation for my husband and niece, then the usual sports activities, tutors, lessons, etc… I noticed that the house could use a deep cleaning (which for me means emptying out a room, scrubbing to the point of sterilization, compiling a punch list and performing paint/fixtures maintenance, then sorting the contents of said room into keep, charity, and trash sections before putting it back together). Oh yeah and those work projects…and laundry…and bills…you see how this went.
If your house is on fire, you do not stand there and say, “Wow, I really should remodel the bathroom.” Nope, you call 911, grab what you can, use a garden hose if it is working, and gather loved ones around you. That is metaphorically what I did. I went to performances. I baked cookies. I did laundry and sorted things. What I did not do is get my work done and man, did I feel guilty.
I tried to put it out of my mind saying, “I am a parent first. Everything I do is so that I can spend quality time with my family. Why am I feeling torn between priorities?” I tried to blame my lack of motivation on a creative block (as my Miami friend mentioned) hoping it would go away. However, after some desperate soul-searching I decided my problem is something that rarely occurs to me: fear.
It is not a matter of feeling creative, I am actually feeling afraid. There I said it! I have a project coming up that is so out of my comfort zone that I am freezing with fear. I cannot even get mundane work done because this beast is looming over my head, and each day is one day closer to deadline!!! Thinking back to advice I have heard on the matter, I am supposed to:
Embrace my fears -or-
Face the issue
Ignore the issue as I slowly develop an ulcer. (I made this one up but it has been working so far.)
Alas, I usually ‘face the issue’ and this will be no different. I will dig deep and come up with an amazing project that the client and I will love. I will not let self-doubt get to me and I will succeed!!! If I fail, that will not be unfamiliar territory either and I will pick myself up and try again. It starts with opening up the program. It starts with finishing this blog – and not going on Facebook to waste time.
I have always respected people who dig deep and fight for what they believe in, but from now on I will be more understanding of people who find the prospect too scary. Whether I succeed or fail, it will be my best attempt and that will be worth something.