As I stood at the coffee shop, waiting for my coffee, tears started to run down my face.

I’d been uptight all morning. Life had been so busy. I work part-time in my day job but the work felt like it didn’t fit into my three day week arrangement. I was also supporting my elderly parents and working through an overwhelming list of jobs required to publish and publicise my novel.

I was weighing up asking for three months leave of absence from work to launch my book. My heart knew I had to do it but my head was scared of making the request.

All that was going through my head was – why am I like this? Why can’t I cope with working and writing like a lot of other people do, and they work full-time? Why do I get tired so easily? Why do I need so much space?

Eighteen months previously I’d had five weeks off work to recover from overwhelm. I was embarrassed to be asking again.

I was ashamed that I needed it. I was ashamed that I wasn’t like everyone else.

I was ashamed to be creative.

As the barista went about their work, my emotions overflowed and a tear ran down my face.

I wish I wasn’t like this. I wish I didn’t have to make this request.

I wish I wasn’t embarrassed to be me!


It isn’t easy to be a creative person

It isn’t easy to be a creative person. We don’t always fit into regular life. We’ve probably felt different all our lives.

We have an irrational drive to paint, or make music, or write, or design clothes, or make things. We’d love to make money at it but we often don’t. We end up doing other work, but our heart always remains with our creative urges.

‘Normal’ people wonder why we do it especially if we’re never going to earn a living from it. Our parents, however old we are, might despair of us as we walk away from yet another ‘good’ job. We have to negotiate with our very understanding partners about why we need to do this project and that it will probably have a negative effect on the family income.

Maybe you, or people around you, frequently despair of you.


How can we turn this around and be proud of who we are?

Now, in the midst of the pandemic and with so much other difficult stuff going on, our desire to write or paint can seem futile.

But the world needs creative people. Who is going to write the books, the song or the movies which change lives? Who is going to put art on the walls, or design iPhones or a comfy armchair?

In lockdown, people have turned to books and Netflix to escape reality, to have some solace and to help them process how they feel. Someone else’s creative activity has allowed them to do this. Someone who went through all the doubts and downside described above but kept creating anyway.

Everyone benefits from our creative work, whatever it is that we do. Creative people are usually very sensitive. We are the ones who pick up on the subtle emotions of a friend or co-worker and realise that they are suffering even though they’ve said nothing.

We are the ones who have a sense of how the future is going and whether we need to be adjusting now. The answer is usually yes but no one else realises it yet. That’s why we suffer more, because we’re already worrying.


Realise your strength

When I found myself it the depths of that despair, I realised that the only way out of it was to see my strengths. I had to see everything I did as having value. I had to praise who I am and what I am capable of, both creatively and professionally.

Eventually, I plucked up the courage the talk to my manager about time away from work. The same day another colleague, who had heard about the conversation, talked to me and was impressed that I had written a book. He didn’t see it as anything negative. He saw it as a great achievement, one that most people never manage.

In the end I didn’t take the time off. Because of a change of circumstances brought about by the pandemic I chose to keep working.

I launched the book anyway.

My friends are proud of me. My family are proud of me. I am proud of me.

There is nothing to be ashamed about.


Now I’d like to hear from you

Does this resonate with you? How do you feel about your creativity today? What do you do to get yourself out of a low place? Be bold, leave a comment below. Your thoughts might be just the perfect thing that someone else needs to read.


Cali Bird Tales of the CaountessWant to know more about my novel?

It’s about the need to be happy within yourself before having a relationship. How can a woman so capable at work be so useless at getting a man? Click here to check it out.


Next Steps

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Every month I also share the ups and downs of my own creative journey – but only email subscribers get that insider view. Sign up now.