When is it hard to paint? Not because of squeezed schedules, demanding jobs or illness; I’m talking about when you have time set aside to be creative, and you don’t jump in because of distraction, creative block, self doubt/fear, or not knowing where to start. Yeah, THAT list of obstacles. We’ve all been there. I’ve missed my watercolors more times than I can count.
The interesting thing – to me – is that creative block is purely an adult issue. (Give a child you know some paper and crayons, and watch the magic.) This implies that being artistically stuck is wholly and deeply self-inflicted. Creative Block is far away from play, absent of unbridled expression, restricted from letting your creative mind lead, and sadly void of producing more of what the world needs right now (your gifts). I vote for karate chopping that bolted door in half, leaping over the wreckage, and sprinting back to Making again. Are you in?
Reach for a Solution
Be inspired by this wonderful story about emerging from the dark cave of self doubt, and taking control of art by letting go of controlling art – and purposefully kicking the need to bend it to your wishes straight to the curb. Read this excellent post by Samantha Chagollan.
Stuckness in History
If creative block or even creative toe-stubbing is plaguing you, take comfort in the fact that you’re in good company. This crippling shroud covers most artists at some point, including folks who work in other creative fields, like this sewist, Jenny Rushmore.
Creative block also happens to amazingly talented and prolific artists – like Carol Marine. I recommend her free essay featuring 8 artists’ strategies to overcome creative block on this page titled ‘Collective Insight on Blocks’.
Direct your Muse
Remember this in your stuckness: all those centuries of other creators before you found ways to get un-stuck, so do your research to find out how they got back on the path. And don’t limit your harvest exclusively to visual artists; read about writers, choreographers, poets and musicians.
While neuroscience hasn’t yet been able to develop a foolproof scientific system to spark creativity, an artistic practice, if developed, can grease the wheels for more frequent and higher quality creative moments. As Eno puts it: “The point about working is not to produce great stuff all the time, but to remain ready for when you can.” ~Eric Tamm interviewing Brian Eno
If you’re stuck, I hope you reach out, with vigor, to pull back every minute you’ve lost by not making things. Our trips around the sun are not guaranteed, and they sure don’t last forever. If there’s an artist in you – sleeping – wake her/him up, shake off the dust, grab your art supplies and get back to making.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post.
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How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.