We all would like to think we know how our minds work. We all would like to think we know what motivates us and what keeps us striving to create all that we know we can. However, despite our best efforts, we can hit walls and bouts of unwelcome inactivity. In our busy, bustling lives, we find ourselves asking the question:
What do we do when this creativity of ours, just, stops?
Speaking from experience; it isn’t easy to maintain a flow of ideas. I would be absolutely enthralled if I could be in a position where I could consistently create, nurture and thrust out creative ideas. But life just isn’t that simple! For me, the somewhat demonic presence of a ‘writer’s block’ would be the worst situation I could ever find myself in. But unfortunately (and for quite a long time in my early adulthood), this seemed to be the poltergeist that haunted my mind…
“What do I write about? What do I write about? Someone give me an idea!”
Personally, ideas for my creations which centre on poetry, seemed to cultivate into something satisfying (for my eyes at least) from apparent nothingness. In the past, I would manipulate a face I have seen, or an image, or a place, and write lined melodies about them in no time at all. Personal growth and three year’s spent studying a Social Science at University however – and creative writing took a hesitant back seat.
Fortunately enough for me, I have managed to sense when it’s time to give myself that holy shake-of-the-shoulders, making me step out of my melancholy reverie and into the creative world once more. Don’t misunderstand me – this has not been an overnight discovery! Years of self-evaluation and seemingly relentless writer’s blocks have enabled me the knowledge to remember a few key pointers, which I’d like to share with you now.
First and foremost, let’s all repeat with me:
1. Creativity is not predictable!
Nor should it be treated that way. As with most cognitive processes, creativity is not linear and for most, it cannot just ‘occur’ – yet many forget this. Yes, there may have been a time when you could sit in the same cosy spot in your home, studio, garden etc., and strum, type or paint the hours away. Yes, there may have been a time when you would schedule these artistic sessions and fulfil the time with ease as you made your creations. But as mentioned earlier, life is not that simple. But this is the beauty of creativity; it comes and goes as it wishes. We should not try and predict it, because it cannot be predicted. It can be helped along, that is all. It is important to find out the best ways to help your process along and be in control of that instead.
2. Find your way
It won’t be the same as everybody else’s. I am terrible when it comes to comparing my creative output with my family of artistic pals. It’s taken a while (and many failed attempts) to accept that we all work at different paces. It shouldn’t matter what painter or writer or dancer you once were; it is about using those experiences to better your understanding of your art, today. Find what motivates you, what keeps you on your toes and keeps your imagination flowing. Write to those blogs you would otherwise feel too inadequate to be a part of. Go to that social event you would otherwise find an excuse to avoid; make your lists and mood-boards and pour your week-long scattered thoughts all over them. Find your way of creating and then remember to…
3. Give it time
It is as simple, and as complex as that. Forgive yourself from the time you may unintentionally spend apart from your art. What once may have acted as a way to release your stress and work through your emotions might not need to be relied on as much at this point in your life. Or on the contrary, you might find that now, you require your creative output more than ever and are frustrated when it isn’t an automatic process. But remember that all important first step we repeated together: creativity is not predictable. Following on that vein, it would be unfair to time your creations. It is your progress, no matter how fast or slow, that you want to be nurturing and assisting – not scolding.
Steering out of our artistic blocks will not be an easy ride, because we’re not deserving of an easy journey. We have a talent, and that means a constant upwards hike to reaching the pinnacle of our artistic dreams. No matter what may occur along the route however, be kind to yourself in remembering that all art takes time.
Especially yours, you beautiful thing.
Written by Kavita Kler
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