It happens sometimes to creatives- your head is filled with a party of ideas & inspirations and then all of a sudden the party is over. You’re left with a bunch of rubble, an empty room, and a creative hangover. That’s where I am at. I’ve been here before and it’s not fun. You feel lost, lonely & a sense of despair. The one thing I do know “This too shall pass” (but not without some effort).
Parties can’t go on indefinitely. At some point, you need to rest & recharge. The first step is to clean up after the party- literally. I am doing a total cleanup of my studio. On Saturday I swept down my cement floor, got rid of unnecessary items that lined the walls and occupied the floor and then hosed down the entire thing. Afterward, it smelled fresh and sweet. Today I am cleaning and organizing my table surfaces. For some reason cleaning my physical space also cleans my mental space. It’s not a cure-all but sure is a positive start to make room for new ideas. Best of all- It’s something I can do now and feel good about.
I wrote the following poem at my low point (also posted on “Poet’s Corner”). I look forward to hearing the songs of birds again.
One of the most common complaints I hear as an art teacher and in conversation with others in the realm of art is “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Here’s the news…… you don’t have creative bones in your body. You have creative muscles. Whereas bones (at least in adults) don’t change much, muscles are changeable and can be strengthened.
We were all born creative beings. The problem with many is that their creativity was not nurtured either at home or at school or both. Then there is that nasty aspect of self-consciousness that creeps in as we grow-up. Still, creativity can persist in sneaky ways. I ask people to look at the manner they dress, decorate their house, garden, cook, parent, solve problems at work & so forth. It’s there waiting to be manifested.
Now if you are hungering to express yourself in the arts, you have to be willing to endure
the painful practice of getting your creative muscles in shape after years of disuse. Just like getting yourself in good physical condition it can be uncomfortable & discouraging. But “show up” on a regular basis & you will get stronger, confident and feel good about yourself. No one learned how to play a musical instrument without regular practice and one will not sound very good at first. Even among those individuals who were born with any inherent talent from music to athletics, most need some kind of training & practice to succeed. Artists are no exception.
Give yourself permission to start. My childhood talent got unleashed at 40 when the instructor of my 5-year-old son’s clay class agreed to let me be a part of the class. There is nothing like being around a bunch of uninhibited kindergartners to unleash your creative force. Twenty some odd years later I am still a ceramic artist.
My advice to those eager to flex their creative muscles? Go take an art class. Best yet, sit in on a children’s class. Treat art as an inquiry, not a means for a finished product. Don’t judge yourself & allow for the messy, fun process of being a beginner.
One book that was my biggest cheerleader on my creative path was Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. All her books on creativity are fabulous but this one will help get you motivated. Now go forth & enjoy the journey.