Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ptooey to Creative Block, or I Will Not Create a Self Fulfilling Prophecy

A Doodle, or Intuitive Wondering/Wandering

So.

I don't have any inspiration.

I can't think of what to paint. To make. The creative part of my brain is confused and kind of silent. My energy is at ebb tide.

But you know what?

None of that really matters.

Inspiration is nice, but is not necessary in being creative. Creativity is more about working and exploring than it is about being hit with the thunderbolt that is inspiration. Creativity is about committing to the work and about working itself.

I am under the firm belief that creative block is a self fulfilling prophecy. When we decide that we are blocked, all our energy goes into being blocked, and the block just gets bigger and bigger.

So.

I am not interested in my reasons for not creating. Not the whys or the excuses, no matter how valid.

Instead I must focus on creating itself. On what I can create. On the time I can carve out of my day for creating. On keeping my pen moving. On looking for that inspiration whenever it might pop up and grabbing onto it. And on continuing to work, even when I don't have inspiration.

Even if what I create isn't fabulous, even if it doesn't thrill me I have to keep going. I have to start wherever I am, and that includes being in the land of the exhausted, confused, discombobulated and uninspired.

In my experience, if I start regularly putting my pen to paper, drawing doodles, sketching my lunch, or my foot or my hand, then pretty soon, I will be inspired to take it farther. I will open up my paints and start something more intensive. I will start sketching paintings for later. I will start making time to get that art painted.

The same goes for writing. If I start reading over my old work, talking about it. If I start doing exercises to define my characters or plot. If I start making maps or sketches of the places and people in the story. If I take out my red pen and start editing... well, pretty soon, I start living in that world I've created, and the world of the imgination starts growing and growing until it demands attention.

So.

Here is my process. Sometimes I have nothing to say or paint or write and no energy. I'm pretty sure every artist goes through these periods. But an artist keeps going even when they don't have anything to say. Even when what they say is flat and uninspired. Being an artist is being committed to the creating, that's all.

An artist TRUSTS that the art (word/music/dance/inspiration) will come back, if she just keeps showing up to the page (canvas, stage, floor, studio). And she keeps working.

I am going to trust that my art will come back, even if I am confused in my land of doodles and transition.

2 comments:

Brooke said...

I hear you. Some days I too just work with no real drive. And sometimes magic happens on those days, and sometimes it doesn't. I do agree that it is important to show up, regardless of the feeling, and most of the time, I do. :)

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

Rowena, not only will your art come back, it IS back. Or perhaps it never left.

I think you're right on about the need to create regardless of inspiration or lack thereof. Daily practice will either lead to inspiration, or it will prepare the ground--plant the seeds, so they can grow in their own time.

I also think it's important to find a way to take a step back from our work...because we can't always see what's in front of us. Your "confused" doodle here? I ADORE it. To me, it echoes our creative process, the wandering sort of way imagination and creation work. Maybe it wasn't what you intended to crate, or what you would plan--but there is worth in it, not "just" as a doodle. Your disctinctive voice shines here. I would love to have this tacked up in my work space.

I think sometimes we tend to de-value what comes to us easily. Your doodles, fashion sketches, etc., are some of what I most enjoy from you. Yes, I love Flying Girl and the travelings, but there is an elemental simplicity to your doodles and sketches that really speaks to me.

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