music and poetry for sensitive birds

I perpetually have more creative ideas than I can execute over any given period of time.

I love ideas! They fill me with energy. They’re fresh and fun.

I've learned that following the fun is important for whatever flavor of neurodivergence and mental illness I am.

But it can also be unsustainable when not paired with structure and discipline. Two things that I love to love and hate to use.

(Ok — I don't hate it; this jello just wasn't made for molds.)

Yet I've learned that it's easier to show up and follow through when I’m not using creative energy to figure out what I need to do next.

My Notion Homepage

All my planning helps prevent AnxiEtY sPirAls in which I am too overwhelmed by the task to start. I reduce all the unknowns into manageable steps, allowing me to feel the fun of a task while having confidence that I can make progress.

My Notion helps me do this by providing free space to build out plans, jot down ideas, and prioritize my passion projects.

Planning for Q2 of 2024 allowed me to (once again) realize that I have been expecting myself to perform the full-time work of 11 people on top of my job, school, and life.

Whoops.

No wonder I feel like I never make progress!

I do. But my idea of progress has been highly unreasonable.

I stopped following the fun. I was all aboard the hustle train, choo-choo-ing like my next paycheck depends on it.

Yet I have purposely built a life that allows me to pursue my passion without asking it to pay the bills right now. I know I'm cultivating something lasting and stable, with a purpose that reaches far beyond capital production.

It deserves my discipline and my joy.

What I've Learned

I need (playful, colorful) structure and emotional awareness steeped in radical self compassion and forgiveness.

It also helps to maintain focus on delivering what I mean to express and how I want the audience to receive it.

In doing so, I discovered lots of things I want to do that I told myself I can't or wouldn't be good at if I did.

Importantly, I learned how to go from overwhelm to having a plan.

Here's my process.

Journal Prompts

First ask,

  • Did this creative expression or desire stop being fun...or did I sink into the who, what, when, where, and how — muddying my receptive joy with fear of the unknown?

Then explore,

  • How can I honor the information in these fears without accepting the unsettling noise as fact?
  • When I connect with the creative expression or desire, do I still feel bubbling joy, excitement, or interest?
  • If so, what's the smallest first thing I can do to re-engage with this creative expression or desire?

If it's still too overwhelming to show up and start, show up and do a different creative task. Allow yourself to explore and meander.

Once you're creating, float out the idea to yourself that you might take that first step. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe later this week. Plant the seed.

I find oftentimes that when I plant the seed, the sprout happens spontaneously.

Those who work better with set schedules may consider planning a day and time to show up and complete the smallest first thing to re-engage with your creative joy.

The point is: figure out what works for you. Treat yourself like a plant that simply needs the right conditions.

With love & badassery,
Conner Carey

P.S.
During the latest round of planning, I realized that this newsletter is the only thing on my list that didn't inspire bubbling joy 😅 

So, I asked myself what would make it fun again. And here we are.

Please feel welcome to give your feedback. My goal is to share my creative journey while inspiring your own.


What I’m Working On

Doing less, better. Better as in more consistently, as in with less pressure on myself to meet self-imposed ideas of what I should be able to accomplish.

Instead, I will focus on showing up.

This month will end in a lot of rest (post surgery! Woo!) I am intentionally taking it easier in preparation, slowing down to ensure I'm hearing my quietest self speak.

This Month’s Goals

Compile poems for my book

Eeek! Pretty self-explanatory and totally scary/exciting. My goal is to bring all the poems together that I want to be in the book.

I'll revisit editing and agents next month.

Go through 5 years of voice memos (2014-2019)

I'm (slowly, slowly) working on a demo album. Which means going through over ten years (2000+) voice memos to find hidden gems I want to record.

I've gotten through 2013 (which was only a few months to be fair) and half of 2014. This period of time is six months after my bipolar psychosis and subsequent hospitalization. I'm hearing myself figure out how to heal, get back to myself, and determine to create a future of my own weaving.

Quit smoking for surgery

Ya'll, this is exactly what I've been asking for (a really good reason to take a break from weed). But shit, that don't mean I want to do it. Here's to getting uncomfortable now to create the reality I want later (more balance around intake).

Rest, rest, rest (& play video games)

Post surgery in late May, I'll have a lot of time to alternate between walking around and laying down. I've been putting off playing a couple video games that I'm excited about (all hobbies must pause when I'm working and in school).

This period of extended rest during post-op is a perfect time to let go of productivity and just have some fun. I'd love to play through Detroit Become Human and get deeply into Tears of the Kingdom.

*Your email will join a special private inbox and happily live there. I will never share your reply. Ideally, your reply serves as an easy-to-find checkpoint for next month. Compare your expectations with reality, adjust based on what you learn, and treat yourself like a plant that simply needs the right conditions.

Works I Love

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