Thursday, December 11, 2014

What To Do When The Creativity Won't Flow

Here's a post I've never thought to write before...

I've heard a number of people say they were "blocked" and even though they wanted to create, they just weren't able to.

You may have heard folks who write say they are block or you might have experienced being blocked yourself.

I haven't.

I've never been blocked. I've gone through periods where I didn't want to sketch, paint, draw or do anything else that required paper and paint, but I've never been blocked.

I think recognizing the lack of desire or resistance to creating in a journal is key.

Occasionally, I've allowed myself to get caught up in the "well, I should do this" or "I ought to do that," but to me that's not being blocked—that's guilt. And who better to guilt us than ourselves? For me, guilt almost NEVER works.

Perhaps my definition of being blocked is different from everyone else's.

Currently, I'm going through a period where I don't have the energy or a strong desire to sketch. Every time I pick up my journal, I feel resistant towards putting anything on the page. So, I lay it back down and walk away.

Part of my reluctance to sketch is that both of my parents have the flu and my mother actually wound up in the hospital for a few days. My father, brothers and I had to stay with her around the clock to make sure she didn't fall and she still managed to do that anyway. (She's banged and bruised but otherwise alright.)

Lots of folks sketch hospital equipment, interiors of rooms and their loved ones lying in a hospital bed in these circumstances…so far, I've not been able to bring myself to do that. That's simply not a memory I want in my sketchbook. (Hello, my name is Pollyanna.)

Rather than get upset about not wanting to sketch or not having the energy to sketch, I divert my creative energies, or what's left of them, into another form.

Instead of drawing, I cook or bak. I may do some sewing or rearrange my living room. All of these endeavors take some form of creativity, it's just that the process is not so obvious. Nor is the end result.

The other thing I know is that my need/desire/addiction to sketch, paint and create will flair again. Just like the sun will come up in the east. When it does, I'll pick up my journal like I never left off.

I believe having an unshakeable conviction that my creativity will never go away is the second important key to not being blocked.

I'm not sure, but I don't think it's possible to lose the creative streak in us…but I know a good many folks seem to think that way and I can't help but wonder if it's part of the reason for their block.

I'd also go so far as to say that it's perfectly okay to set down the journal and go off in pursuit of another creative activity. A steady diet of nothing but the same old thing gets pretty boring after a while.

Using a different approach or using a different medium can often be enough to kick the fire back up. Sometimes not.

I expect to be back to my regular journaling self in a few more days, a week at the most, but if I'm not, I'll continue to give myself permission to get over this slump.

And there's the third key—giving myself permission to feel what I feel and to move through it.

Of course, I have to be careful not to wallow too long or overindulge in the negative feelings that can accompany these bouts of not wanting to journal.

I hope these thoughts will help you navigate the minefield of guilt that often part of the busy holiday season. I also share these thoughts in the hopes that it may help someone else avoid the pain of feeling blocked when life gets a little too busy or downright overwhelming.

Be kind to yourself and be kind to others as we often have no idea what others are going through.

4 comments:

  1. This was so good for me to hear today. I'll stop beating myself up over not sketching. I too stay creative in other ways. I guess sometimes we need permission to just be. Thank you.

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  2. For me too, this was good to read. Like you, I can't bring myself to draw in hospitals or when my head is full of worry. My conclusion has been that I can't be a real artist. But you, Laure, definitely are. So...perhaps I am a little bit of a n artist after all :-) drawing and painting has always been important and is now the best escape from a miserable situation, so I agree: don't wallow in it, but don't feel bad about yourself when you can't sketch.
    You've a knack for posting things that result in a feeling of liberation, Laure. Thank you!

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  3. Great post! I've never thought about being blocked quite like that before. I can see how this will help me with resistance to writing as well as to sketching.

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  4. I've been so busy knitting for birthdays and Christmas plus cookin for the same that drawing is more on the back burner for me. I'm even getting behind on my lessons but I think the worst thing to do is worry over it. I do a little here and a little there. I too trust that the cycle works and the wheel turns and it's never too long before the need to do art is back again. I do hope your parents are finally recovering so everyone can get rested and enjoy the holidays!

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