Dark night of the soul: Creative challenge

I've had a really hard month. I worked like a dervish through May and June, looking forward to a bit of down time in July. I had great plans.

I was going to spend an indulgent amount of time with my horses. Chained to my deadlines during May and June, I could see myself spending every spare moment with them, taking long walks through secluded laneways, stopping so they could graze the choicest grass. The vision was so real I could even feel the winter chill in my bones as I anticipated the coming joys. It was going to be the happiest of times.

And that wasn't all. I was also going to write 30,000 words of the forensic psychology novel, Top Dog, that I'm working on at the moment. I had it all worked out, and ambitious as that word count may sound, it wasn't unrealistic given the way I write - in fits and bursts of slow, agonizing progress (where every word is bled, painfully, out of my struggling brain) followed by an avalanche of words once my momentum reaches a certain, indefinable tipping point.

That wasn't how things turned out, of course. At the end of June, my beautiful big Thoroughbred, Mister Mo, died after a two day, desperate battle with colic. Gone were my dreams of rejuvenating in the shadow of his unwavering love and companionship. Gone was the dearest of friends.

Grief stricken and exhausted, when the much anticipated July break actually arrived, I found myself in no position to benefit from it. There was no happiness, no prolific writing, no energy of any sort to be found.

Drawing upon a lifetime of stoicism and fuelled by an ongoing overdose of chocolate (which I'm now going to have to work off), I've trudged along with my commitments anyway, writing a chapter or two here and there, creating some new images, and I even fabricated a sterling silver ring that I rather like. But there's been no joy, no pleasure, not even the remotest hint of inspiration through this bleak winter.

Determined to re-ignite some semblance of enthusiasm for life, I've embarked on a 30 day challenge: Do something creative every day. No rules. Just whatever inspires me on the day. No project too big or too small. No restriction on mediums.

I'm going to blog my results daily, and the question is this: Will this creative challenge - which combines discipline with mindfulness and creativity - lift my spirits and re-ignite my passion for the creative pursuits that normally occupy all my spare moments? Theoretically, it should. The brain is a network of neural links, and stimulation in one part of the network should have a flow-on stimulatory effect in other parts of the network.

You can follow my challenge here or by liking my Facebook writer's page, but if you think this is a good idea, why not join me?

With you in spirit.

With you in spirit.