Stuck. Blocked. Out of juice. We’ve all found ourselves there, especially creative types (how we do like to get ourselves in trouble). How is sometimes, in the middle of being stuck, you can’t seem to remember how you ever got unstuck before? You think, I know I’ve gotten myself out of these situations somewhere along the line. Sure, maybe it’s not the same exact situation, but there must have been something similar enough to help out now.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling to keep my productivity up. It’s partly a (temporary) lull in motivation, partly some minor life upheaval, and partly creative fatigue. I’m thankful things are beginning to turn around. The effects of the minor life upheaval have dissipated, motivation is beginning to revive and the creative well is (slowly) refilling. I’m looking forward to regaining a happy momentum…the sooner the better.
This experience has reminded me that I need to plan for dips in motivation and creative fatigue. Both are normal parts of any goal-oriented journey. And I’ve realized that I can’t always rely on momentum alone to keep me going. Friction, my friends, is the enemy of perpetual motion machines and mental processes (different kinds of friction, I know…but, whatever).
Now, I just need to put a plan together. No problem, right?
Sometimes, I feel overflowing with creative energy. I’m driven to make something, anything. My writing calls to me, sweetly, begging me to sit down and pour out the words.
Other times, I feel like I’m looking into a dark, dry well. I send my bucket down, hoping for a few drops of creativity to soothe my parched spirit, but there’s nothing to be had.
What drains the well, and what fills it back up again?
I don’t have the whole answer for you, but it’s at least partly a matter of the balance between play and focus. Sometimes, when we’re working on a big creative task, we get so focused on getting it done, we forget to enjoy ourselves, to play around with it. That lack of play drains our spirit, leaving us feeling barren. On the other hand, when we allow ourselves room to play, even if it’s not with the project at hand, we refill that well.
Lately, I’ve been struggling to find the enthusiasm I need to keep going on several goals, especially my novel-in-progress. We’ve had a couple of big upsets in the family. I think that’s thrown me off. But more than that, I think I’ve been too intent on just getting my goals done. I’ve forgotten why I set the goals in the first place and the joy with which I first embraced them. That lack of just plain fun has sapped my creativity.
Whether or not we consider ourselves creative types, creativity fuels our lives every day. It’s how we solve problems, from the mundane to the extraordinary. It’s how we connect to one another. It’s how we see the humor in life, especially when life is not so funny.
Our creativity is like a little kid. Like a little kid, our creativity needs care. She (yeah, my creative spirit is a girl…maybe yours is a guy or both or neither…substitute pronouns as needed) needs to be well fed and rested. She needs a little discipline so she doesn’t run out into traffic or stick a fork in the outlet. And, maybe most importantly, our creativity needs room to play. Continue reading “Satisfying Your Creative Urges”→
Gary Gauthier is at the Life List Club today talking about creativity…
All you need for an excellent exercise that stimulates a young child’s imagination is a blank sheet of paper and a few crayons of different colors. A creative spirit and busy little hands will do the rest. It’s not so easy for us adults! While creativity can be as easy as child’s play, for an artist or a craftsman, creativity can mean painstaking work.