Creative Block: A Blogger’s Enemy
Recently, I have been struggling with the dreaded creative block.
The term is often referred to as ‘Writer’s Block’ but it can affect anyone who is artistic, photographers, writers, painters, designers and bloggers. I like to plan much of my work in advance to try and work around this problem, but my workload demands consistency. At times I ride the wave of inspiration, everything flows easily. During other times I find myself stuck with a paralysing fear of either starting a project, or finishing it and becoming increasingly more frustrated about how to solve this. It’s something that is not often talked about, I believe this is because many of us invest our pride in being competent, or at least being perceived this way. Creative Block is the arch nemesis of productivity, so upon conquering my own I felt it was time to write down my thoughts in the hope that it would help you, my fellow reader and your creative sparkle.
What is Inspiration?
This is a fascinating question with many answers. I would describe it as a golden sparkle that embeds itself in all things, others might describe it as an inner awareness, or as following a ‘muse’, some believe it’s innate, and many cultures such as the Greeks had their own interpretation that inspiration was in fact something from the Gods, a spiritual process and journey bestowed from above. Whatever you believe inspiration is, it’s incredibly frustrating and detrimental for any artist that can’t find it. The key to keeping it, is about recognising what it means for you.
The Importance of Purpose
I used to believe I found inspiration in the potential, what is yet to be. Recently I have discovered I find inspiration in fact, within purpose. Much of this comes from various philosophies around life itself, and the way we live. Chasing happiness is an empty journey in comparison with following inner purpose and meaning. What is purpose you ask? Well, that is different for everyone. I don’t believe there is any correct answer, only what you personally connect with. For me, my purpose is seeing a future in my work and what I do. Knowing that others will benefit from it, feeling the generative impact of my creations gives me purpose and fills me with inspiration to continue. When I am working on a project without the end in mind, I become listless and unmotivated, losing inspiration. I have discovered that my inspiration comes from being able to answer the question of ‘Why’ I do something, not the ‘How’. As artists it can be so easy to get caught up in the how of our doing, how we will make something work, how it will be ‘good enough’, how we can improve, how it can be fulfilled. But without a why, the how becomes meaningless, and our vision becomes like a moving vehicle without a driver. There are simple ways you can assist yourself to stay focus on the ‘why’, and keep in mind that in order to hold on to this mindset, you need to be flexible when the why evolves and changes as your project does.
How to Find Inspiration
Here are a few tips and practical ideas for exploring, defining and reminding yourself of why you create, to grow your inspiration and keep it.
Create a Vision Board. This is a fabulous idea for anyone, whether you are starting out on a creative venture or already deep in one, a vision board provides a tangible and handy way for you to refer to your goals, your purpose and a visual reminder of why you create. Have a search through www.pinterest.com and make a digital board, then print out the images and attach them to a cork board in your work or study space. Update it as you move through your journey! I will be creating a blog post on how to do this more in depth in future so keep an eye out!
Make a list of your projects you are working on, troublesome or productive and write a mission statement for each. How is what you are doing in alignment with your vision? Sometimes what we are doing, falls out of connection with our original purpose and we lose motivation. it can be as simple as resetting your mind about a project, and remembering where we started!
Look to the Past. Find your old work, previous projects you’ve completed and really enjoyed or found to be successful. Pull them out and ask yourself what you enjoyed about them, what kept you motivated, why you continued with them, and what you gained from them. Apply this to your current creative situation.
Talk About It. For me talking is a therapeutic way of discovering what I really think. I’m a very visual person and I think in pictures, so talking to anyone who will listen either friends or family about my dilemma is a great way to be presented with a new perspective and question my situation in ways I wouldn’t have alone. Find those who will challenge you, and won’t accept resignation. A second or third perspective on the project at hand can provide you with the awareness for the project’s purpose.
Observe your Role Models. Make a list of other individuals in your field who are doing what you want to be doing. What is their place in the industry? How did they create it? Why are they still doing it? What is it about what they do that inspires you? Answering these questions about others can really help you to identify that in yourself.
Being Self Aware
Most of the problems I encounter come up as a result of not being self aware. As artists having a defined purpose and mission can assist with maintaining a sense of self awareness, to know where we fit in the world. I have learned that my purpose is built on the foundation I provide for it, and if I’m not ensuring that my life is well rounded and my mind, body and spirit are taken care of, a bigger purpose is the last thing on my mind and so becomes almost impossible to achieve. Look after your body, to nurture your mind, and take the time to be present to your mind, so you can fulfil your spirit. Enjoy the creative journey!
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