What happens when you're so busy working hard, being busy that you don't stop and smell the flowers? What's a girl to do when she's strung herself out on acrylic paint and blog posts? Honestly, the girl's to do nothing. She's to sit still and dedicate herself to some hard thinking. She's to remember the reason she got started in all this creating madness. She's to visit the places that make her heart patter. But sometimes the slowing part just isn't comfortable and is, in fact, stifling. So, she's got to find another way.
Creation comes from a deep and wide well in me. It's sort of ever-present, spewing ideas up up and out of me and I just go and do and work and be until suddenly the well has run dry and I'm tired from the fruitless efforts to fill it back up again. I've heard that the way to solve things such as this are to back away and make space or to forge forward until the creative bug strikes again.
Those are two approaches. I've tried each. Backing away leaves me itchy and irritable. Pushing forward exhausts and frustrates me. So I can't dedicate myself to do either with intensity. Instead, like life requires us to do, I have to find a method that works for me. I have to work out where the blockage is and then I've got to gradually chip away at it.
Sometimes this happens fast. Other times it seems nearly impossible, as though all my work at getting over this hump over uninspiredness is never going to happen.
1. TURN OFF THE STIMULI.
Consumption in creativity is so important. But sometimes you've got to create out of a void. With all the things coming in we can be overwhelmed and chaotic. So turn on some calm jazz or nature sounds and just listen. Let the rhythm and the noises that aren't someone else's work their way through your soul. Something will come out on the other side.
2. RETURN TO AN OLD FRIEND.
In college I was Matt Nathanson's biggest fan. Some Mad Hope played best friend to me through countless finals and paper writing binges. I still to this day celebrate the smoky goodness that is his voice. When my own inspiration is waning, I return to him -often catching myself singing subconsciously along to every single mesmerizing lyric he croons. Find your "friend" and let him be important in the most dire of creative moments.
3. GO THROUGH YOUR JOURNAL.
Art or otherwise, go through them. If you're not keeping a journal of some sort, start now. The ability to create art or words for yourself is underrated. But these sketches and practiced bits of your process can be breeding grounds for future efforts.
4. TURN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA.
I know, this one's hard. But comparison is the most stifling sources of inadequacy when one's creativity is waning. I used to cruise through my Instagram feed for inspiration when I felt like my creativity was stopped up. This used to work, but with the opening of my shop, it's become a haunting playground of I'm not good enoughs. So, I put it away and am left to my own devices.
5. STRETCH YOUR SOUL AND YOUR BODY.
Get out of your space. I can hole myself up in my creative space for hours. In fact, one day a week I usually do. It's lovely to have a beautiful room in which ideas can begin and blossom. But it's also the same room where I drive myself crazy over the fact that things JUST AREN'T changing. Yes, the same place where I fall in love with one piece hosts the most discouraging thoughts my mind can muster. So walking comes in handy. Walking or running or stretching or anything that gets my muscles moving and my body free.
What are your tricks?
How do you inspire yourself when it just seems too hard to go on creating?