Post-holiday blues got you down? No motivation or ideas flowing your way? Been away from your art so long, you aren't sure how to get back into it? You aren't alone! I've been in a creative slump on and off for the past 4 months. I've been through this before, and I know how to work though it. So when it came time to plan my online classes for January, I jumped at the idea of teaching a creativity workshop. I relished the opportunity to go through all my books on creativity and review all the techniques and tricks I've learned over the years. I knew that by sharing these techniques with others, it would motivate me as well.
(You can read about my success story in the last paragraph.)
A good place to start is to become aware of what is blocking your creativity. A number of things can cause you to lose touch with your creative side. Below are some of the most common.
Stresses of daily life
Who doesn’t have stress in their lives? A certain amount is expected. However occasionally something happens to kick up the stress levels – troubles on the job, a sick loved one, financial issues. It is normal to feel disconnected from creative thoughts at these times. However this is the time when you most need a creative outlet.
Even the most positive among us occasionally thinks “I’m just not creative” or “Who am I kidding, I can’t do this”. It's easy to let those thoughts take over and to give up on creative pursuits.
Some people put enormous pressure on themselves – either to complete things in an unrealistic time frame or by feeling that everything they create has to be a perfect. The harsh truth is, not everything you create will be great. (This is still a problem for me - I want everything I create to be a masterpiece. Ha!) Probably only one out of 10 pieces will be really great. One or two may be awful and the rest of them will be good or acceptable. Putting on the pressure stifles creativity. Allowing yourself to fail puts you one step closer to something really good.
Attachment to a specific outcome
It’s hard not to have any expectations, but they can blind us. I visited an artist’s studio years ago and saw a beautiful ceramic urn she had created. I commented on how much I liked it and was told it was destined for the trash because it didn’t turn out the way she wanted. All she saw was failure, rather than seeing the beauty that was there. Just because a piece doesn't meet your vision doesn't mean it is worthless.
Fear is a big creativity killer. People are afraid of lots of things – of what others will think, of trying something new, of failure. And fear often disguises itself, so it may take a bit of probing to determine the underlying fear.
What are your biggest creativity blocks?
If you could use some help in overcoming your creative blocks, join me in my online class, Re-Discover Your Creative Self. The materials will be available online beginning Tuesday, January 29 and you can sign up through the end of February. Work at your own pace and join in the class discussion if you have questions or want to share your thoughts.(For more information, visit my website.)
Now for the rest of my story. As I began to develop the workshop, I found myself becoming excited and energized.That energy extended beyond class development and into my work. The end result - I've been waking at 6 every morning full of ideas for a new piece. Next week I'm taking a week long independent study at Art Cloth Studios, so I'll have all week to follow through on my ideas. I can't wait!
Read my blog post about strategies for overcoming blocks.