Have health issues bogged down my creative output?

in health •  2 months ago

I've been dealing with this for a while now. I've had complicated back problems for the past 3 years and though they are certainly improving, it's hard to sit at a laptop or with a guitar for extended periods of time. I sometimes imagine how much work I would have accomplished if it weren't for these issues. But then again, I wasn't accomplishing all that much before these issues and I try to remember that.


Sometimes I think that the back issues have served to help me appreciate the importance of true focus. I have always had friends who can concentrate on some project for hours at a time, sometimes days without sleep. I, on the other hand, would usually consider it a productive day if I could work for 30 minutes in the morning, another 30 in the afternoon and 30 in the evening. I've always had a hard time focusing on one thing.

Since these issues came up, I've been forced to slow down my entire mental process which helps me focus better. There are many things I can't do, like stay out all night whenever I want, sit down comfortably in a movie theater, some vigorous activities, plan things ahead of time because I haven't always been able to predict when I will need rest, spend hours at a cafe in front of my computer intermittently working on things. I've gotten used to the concept of just resting, not only my body but my mind.

So while it's easy to blame my lack of output on health issues, I am honest enough to admit that it's really not the case. These issues have help me concentrate a whole lot better. They've also helped me to explore different modes of creativity that I have been meaning to delve into but had put off for a while.

I started my fiction when I was living for a month in a place with no heat and my back would cramp up due to the cold. I would walk a few blocks to the nearest shopping mall, a place I do not frequent for recreational purposes, and enjoy the comfort a workable temperature and slowly make my way up the very long escalators, finding a quiet corner to stroll at a snails pace. All the while I was writing my first stories about a homeless man who is, unbeknownst to him, making his way toward enlightenment.

So the fact that it was hard to pick up a guitar allowed me to pick up a pen (well, Ipad) and start writing. Writing helped me become more antiquated with that vortex of creativity that we sometimes allow ourselves to get sucked into. I could stroll around and write for 2-3 hours at a time. I still write best when I'm walking around. This concentration has bled over into music. When I am not cramping up, I can sit with a guitar for much longer than before, almost 2 hours at times. I'm still not like those maniac friends who can jam for hours on end, but at least I'm not as ADHD as I used to be.

I've also had time to brainstorm and reflect. I spent so much time on steemit precisely because of my back issues which made it harder to go out and be social and at steemit I started writing essays about life, spirituality, the gift economy, culture, society and art. I've come up with the concept and first few chapters of a sci-fi novel, and a language learning textbook series. I've conceptualized a kind of internet collective based around pay-what-you-want and a plan for spreading this culture throughout different circles and utilizing it to help redistribute wealth. I've reimagined my future, including the way I fit into society and I've faced my demons. I've re-imagined my music project as a kind of all-around effort to spread certain feelings, ideas and concepts and come up with new modes of sharing my work. I am much more confident in what I do and able to elaborate the meaning behind it.

So in some ways the health issues have hindered my horizontal growth as a musician, but I was hindering myself before that, and in the meantime, I have grown horizontally in ways I thought would take decades to achieve. Whenever my back starts to tense up and I feel unable to focus on a project, I take it as time to work on myself and create a person more capable of creating the things I hope to create. The issues will clear up and have already begun to and I am more ready to focus than I've ever been.


If you like what I do, check out my work at Patreon and consider becoming a Patron (or helping me find more Patrons by sharing this link on social media) so I can put more time and energy into fiction, music and community building. Some extra fiction and music will be over at Patreon and it's all pay-what-you-want. Thanks for any and all support!
If you want to chat, come join us to talk about deep shit in the Be awesome discord (no post promo!)
Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Awesome post! An extremely interesting read.

Yes, we could see everything as a signal ( most of us aren't ) but we could also make use of every situation the best we can. Something us creatives rock at ;>)

By the way, did you know that, when cinemas became more and more of a thing ( in the 1920s ), people actually went there to escape the heat and enjoy airco. More info on that here. I had to think of that, when you - kind of - talked of the opposite ( finding warmt in a shopping mall ).

All this will only make you a stronger person in the end :>)


I did know that about theaters, interesting how certain things develop. I am really enjoying how life shows me exactly what I need to see in a given moment. I hope it shows me more and more fun stuff that I like :-P


Interesting indeed :>)

Don't hope, expect and enjoy the manifestation ;>)

So sorry about the health problems. I know they can affect focus, but you would be surprised how much mental fortitude we have with intense discipline.


I would like to focus through excitement for what I am doing rather than pushing myself just to be productive. Discipline can be about the former though too, I guess!

To the question in your title, my Magic 8-Ball says:

Most likely

Hi! I'm a bot, and this answer was posted automatically. Check this post out for more information.

We sometimes find a certain level of awareness when in pain. I think it makes one think more and process thought more carefully.

Being able to focus is also difficult for me. I do not know if it is ADHD as I have never been diagnosed but I know that my attention span is very poor. It even affects my relationship as I easily get bored.

Pain has actually made me think deeply and it has also enabled my writing grow. I started writing poetry in order to explore my feelings and fears and I also picked it because I didn't have the focus to write prose. I have just started working on the short story genre as a start in the process of breaking that yoke.

Well I hope you keep on being productive both on and off steemit. Peace


I find it helps so much to remove yourself from the world with the intention of getting something done. It also helps to recognize real personal growth as progress and appreciating it rather than calling it "wasted time". I have been meaning to spend a month in nature without an ipad (no internet) and a guitar. I've found even 3 days to a week like this is very productive. Sometimes it's more about that inner work but before long I always feel a drive to create.

We need to get back in touch!

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

Glad you found a good use for the health problems XD

Do you have a strap for the guitar or does standing/walking around with it also aggravate your back?

Resting everything is also a good idea.

And man that comparing to other people is killer. I still have various bouts of silent screaming as I'm muddling along feeling like I'm getting nowhere fast while other people are merrily churning out all the things like nobody's business. Just have to remember that we do what we can do and what we do is better than not doing it XD

Posted using Partiko Android


I've actually never bought a strap. It's one of those things, I get really lazy about strange things that might make a difference. When I first started, strumming with a strap seemed so hard but I think now I could learn. I am not sure if it will be better or not but I should try.

I like comparing myself, I don't get upset anymore, I'm just like "I can do that!!!! WHY THE HELL AREN'T I"

Good to catch up the other day man.

Sounds like you are really on to something here, I resonate with this and am feeling it a bit in my life too. Sometimes it's physical, sometimes it's mental and emotional.

"The wise one turns everything to their advantage by making it an opportunity to look more closely"
I don't know where I heard that, but it seems quotey enough to put into speech marks.

These constraints seem to draw our attention to something, creating an opportunity for space and growth.

I have been doing a lot of physical work with my hands - watching them get various injuries and slowly healing. It's somehow teaching me something. It could be about handling the situation, handling things carefully or some other hand metaphor 😂


I would love to discover, preferably through reading rather than my own experience, how certain injuries 安illnesses relate to certain emotions and beliefs and traumas. The shoulder pain having to do with shouldering a burden and things like that. Yours is an interesting case too, do you think you have a hard time handling things carefully or handling them in general?

I love your creative output here @whatamidoing - sorry to hear about your back issues. I know they're debilitating as I've been through them before and it totally made me stir crazy.


Thank you! Love is a strong word. I will not take it for granted! I try to always provide something meaningful without stressing myself out or forcing myself to do anything I am not in the mood for. I figure if nothing else it will help keep my creative juices flowing.

I am feeling great! It's just those days (20%-30% of the time) when my body is holding me back and I literally can't do anything other than walk or lay down, I either go out for a walk and clear my head or I just kind of crawl up in a ball (figuratively) and wait to feel better, at least after I do my stretches.


Ah, I do use 'love' a bit, it's just my enthusiastic and loving nature.

Many of us are the same, with the various challenges that slap us about. May you have more clear days than curled up ones - 20 to 30 percent is good going. x

Hello @whatamidoing, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!