5 Steps to Get Your Creative Groove Back
I’m not sure if it is the summer vacations, overwhelm of a home remodel or just pure exhaustion from having a two year old but I have totally lost my desire to create. I don’t even know what I want to make anymore or why.
So now what? I know creating makes me happy but I have no driving force behind it and it has stalled. I want that enthusiasm and spark back so I know I have to go find it or make it.
I have come up with a few steps to help myself and hopefully others out of this creative slump and find that wiz bang pop that makes us run to our art supplies and shun prime time television.
1. Take time for inspiration
Julia Cameron calls it an Artist Date and recommends them once a week, alone, to reconnect with our creative passions and let our inner artist play. Now here is where I would like to come up with excuses because of a toddler, but I won’t because I can take her and I can make up my own rules on how an inspirational outing can work. I like museums, galleries and nature for my artist dates and as far as I know toddlers are allowed, albeit frowned at, in galleries.
2. Be held accountable
Image you have a looming deadline, people expecting wonderful things out of you or a blooming career. I have trouble sticking to this because my conscious brain knows it’s a fake so I procrastinate. I recommend revealing your dark creative secret to someone you trust and have them hold you accountable to a date that you determine or a goal of some kind. Join a creative challenge on facebook or take a class that has assignments to get you rolling again.
3. Make up a dream creative career and do it like a job
If you love to paint, have a good paying job and you aren’t really inclined to drop everything to paint for a living, create a dream career for your alter-ego. Maybe you would design fabrics from your paintings or children’s room décor. You could be a famous illustrator or a graffiti artist. It really doesn’t matter what dream career or whether you really desire it, the point is to start creating for that pretend career and making little projects that would fit with what your alter-ego needs to accomplish in that job. I suggest you pick something that is a little outside what you currently do in your creative work. The point is to try new creative work that takes you outside what you currently do (or lost a passion for) to see if you get new sparks, passions or who knows even a new career.
Then treat it like a job.
Turn Pro as Steven Pressfield would say (The War of Art) and treat your creative endeavor like its your job. You show up each day and do your job with or without passion. Sure maybe some days you check facebook a few too many times and your productivity goes down but at least your working.
4. Reexamine your WHY
Sit with a piece of paper and answer these questions. I’m hoping that the answers sitting deep inside will stir you back to creating with a clearer vision or why and what.
a. Why do you personally create – what feelings or results do you achieve?
b. What are you interested in? What types of things do you read about or ponder or discuss with people over drinks?
c. Whether you show your work to others or not, how do you want others to feel or what do you want them to understand in your work?
d. What is it that you are currently stressed about, worrying over or even reading or watching on t.v.? Can you make art about it? (yes, you could even turn your obsession of Orange is the new Black into an art project – maybe design new prison clothes or something more profound like racial stereotypes in an infographic)
e. What would you do if you had no t.v., no job, no kids, no appointments or responsibilities but a million art supplies? (if your answer is sit and read books or lay in the sun maybe you need a break for a while until inspiration strikes you again)
5. Take a look back
If none of this strikes you or gets anything sparking, try taking a look at what you have made in the past that you found joy in, or success from. Do you have old sketchbooks or projects from high school you kept? Look through old work, photos, sketches or journal entries and see if there is an old topic or style that you could reexamine with new eyes, more experience and renewed vigor.
If you are like me, you aren’t feeling the desire to create and a list of creative things to do just sounds like work. I made this list so I had a starting point and more options if they didn’t do anything for me. Take just one idea that sounds somewhat promising to you and try it, if you still feel uninspired, try the next one. No pressure, no time crunch. We are just trying to coax our little creative hermit back out slowly so it can move into a bigger better, more creative space.