Last week I talked about the ebb and flow of creativity, and how you just have to ride the wave.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and do nothing until your creativity returns. Au contraire! You need to take this down time to gather new inspiration, reflect on your life, and prepare for the new rush of creativity to take over. Otherwise, you may just be looking at a case of artist’s block.
As promised, I’m sharing with you today my personal four step process for getting back into the flow and avoiding long term artist’s block. Follow this formula, and you should be back up and creating in no time!
When I first start to feel my creativity drain from me, I take a step back and see if there is a source of frustration in my life. Most times, when there are other things bothering me, its almost impossible to obtain the focus needed to get in the flow of creating. So, I take a short break from creating to try and resolve or find peace with whatever it is that is bothering me in life.
Try This: Grab a cheap notebook and your favorite pen, then find a comfy spot to sit. Spend at least ten minutes free flow writing. Don’t worry about what you’re writing about, just start writing anything. Don’t interrupt your thoughts, don’t analyze them, just write until it all comes out. When you feel you’re finished, go back and read what you wrote; looking for clues as to what may be the deepest source of frustration. If you do discover something, one tip to coming to terms with it is to ask yourself, “Is this something I have control over?”, if so, “What can I do about it today?”.
If there’s nothing distracting me from creating, or when I finally get past what was bothering me, my next step is to relax my right brain. I focus on exercising other parts of my brain that thrives on organization and process like sorting my craft supplies, or cleaning.
Try This: Take a day or two away from creating to catch up on house work, organizing your studio, or other mundane or routine tasks.
Filling Your Well
After some time of rest and reflection (which should take no more than 2-3 days), its time to start building up momentum again. I start by “filling my well” with new inspiration. I like to find inspiration in magazines, books, my old journals, nature, by learning a new technique, buying new supplies, and more.
Try This: Go out on an inspiration hunt. Take a walk, visit the library, or go exploring to nearby places you’ve never been before. Take your camera along and keep your eyes open for inspiring color combinations, shapes, and textures. (And don’t miss next week’s post where I’ll be sharing my favorite places to find inspiration!)
Finding the Flow
When I’m ready, I like to get back into creating with some simple exercises. Jumping back in expecting a beautiful finished piece is never fruitfull. So, I take it easy, start slow, and warm myself up.
There are many different warm up exercises that can help you get back into the flow of creativity, you just need to find what works for you. I have two favorites…
Try This: Turn on your favorite music, and tell yourself “I’m just going to play today.” Use your favorite medium to let loose, have fun, get messy, experiment, and make mistakes. Simply showing up and putting that pen or brush to paper is much like going to the gym. It’s hard to get there, but once you do, you will feel much better.
Try This: Give yourself a specific set of rules, such as only focusing on flowers using acrylics. Often when working within a set of rules, ideas will start popping up of new ways to expand on those rules. It’s like working within the box suddenly frees your mind to think outside of the box.
These four steps should be all it takes to get you back into the grove again. But above all, just relax and don’t fret about it. Take this time to catch up on other work, discover new inspiration, and just know that you will be going up that “hill” on the roller coaster again soon! Ride the wave. Go with the flow.
Do you have any tips or exercises that help you get back into the flow of creating? Please share with us by leaving a comment!
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