Rather, here's a question that's worth asking yourself every so often: What are the new directions in your creative work? Where do you want to go? I mean: sometimes you must ask the question, and shake things up; get out of a rut; change direction because you've locked into a groove; divert the momentum of your work away from its usual tendencies and habitual patterns. In my opinion, this is artistically healthy, as well as mentally healthy: but it can be scary. It can be threatening, scary and difficult, upsetting to the status quo.
New directions in poetry often gets us quickly to that dreaded condition known as "experimentation." Lots of readers, and more traditionalist poets, get very dismissive of this sort of thing: to them, the word is pejorative. But children experiment till they discover their lives: they creatively explore who they are, and their options, until they discover what truly means something to them. How should creative work be any different? Think about it: we create our lives, we create art, we create children, we create everything around us. Of course, to the hardline control-freaks, playfulness itself can be a suspicious activity. But play is a spiritual activity, too, in some of the world's traditions of divine play.
That isn't necessarily an act of will, although it can be a state of mind. There is a choice involved, but it's not always a conscious choice. Perhaps that's because fear can cloud us, when we face an unknown.
Where are we going, with this? The truth is: I don't know. I am aware that my own art has gone in completely new directions in recent months: unexpected directions, after a series of life-changing events. Would I have chosen this change in my art, that I am now faced with? I find that I choose it in retrospect, although at the time I was not conscious of having made a choice. Sometimes the mind is the last part of the overall system of Self to know what's going on. I have always been willing to follow where the larger self leads; and I am doing so again. So, here is my own self-assessment:
I find myself writing almost no poetry. There is no fear of poetry not returning to me, later. There are several reasons for this lack of productivity, some negative, some positive. Cherry-picking referents, I could say that one negative reason is the collapse, amidst great suffering, of the online poetry forum I once thought of as home; and I could say that one positive reason is that I am much more focused on music than anything else, right now. The life-changing events of the past year have had an impact on what I want to write about, if anything, and how I go about doing it. So, one more positive reason that could be listed is that I am doing things with poems I've never done before; and one more negative reason is that what I have been doing with poems has brought me under a lot of attack from more conservative poets. The truth is, even if I were writing much right now, I wouldn't be posting anywhere for critique, because I've outgrown and left most of the venues that I used to go to for critique; and rightly so. I've been discussing following one's inner compass as an artist, recently; the truth is, I've been talking about my own creativity, and what I feel I need to be doing. Another negative reason that could be listed is that I don't really expect any other writers to care, or understand, where I am lately, as a writer; the flip side of that, which could be another positive reason, is that I'm not writing for anyone but myself. If I share anything I write, it's not because I need validation, it's because I don't need validation. I find that my self-confidence and self-awareness as an artist have rarely been so high; of course, I could be deluding myself. Faith is about trust; and if you don't start trusting where you art leads you, you are truly, deeply lost.
So, that's a short summation of my own new directions. I've left a lot out. I haven't mentioned a few things I'm doing; and I won't just yet. Talking about something before it's ready to be discussed can rob it of power, and dissipate its momentum. I am starting a new life, and new ways in which my arts will fit into my new life: I trust the process to lead me where it will, and I trust my own inner compass enough, just now, to not need either praise or damnation. I'll just keep going on.
What's your own new directions? Where would you go from here, just now?