I've just recently hit my first creative stump. Creative rut, creative hurdle; I'd heard the terms before but didn't feel it would happen to me. For a start, I didn't believe myself creative enough to hit any hurdles.
I put the hurdle down to a couple of things which were going on:
- my total lack of energy after my holiday bug
- telling myself I want to concentrate completely on the kids before our youngest, Livia, starts school in September (she'll be 3) and thinking about putting the business on the back burner for summer
The results were a complete creative lethargy and no desire to sew.
I didn't panic; quite the opposite I was calm about it. I rested. I read some books. I took photos on nature walks, enjoying the new viewfinder of my eyes. I connected to instagram (love it!). I stopped reading the beautiful blogs which usually inspire me but in this creative slump led to self-doubting and I'll-never-be-good-enoughs.
After a little while I started facing the facts which meant facing my fears. I'm normally good at change, but having both kids at school is a biggy, one I've been building up to and working towards and gulp looking forward to even at times. But it is a big change round here, this potential of a quiet house where I can get lots of bags sewn, products developped, photographs taken, have a creative career, live my dream. And I also feel guilty as we'll be putting Livia in for longer days than Noah, her brother, started with.
Working through this fear of change also made me realise I won't be concentrating on "just the kids". It's never worked for me; I need other interests and activities to keep me being me. Being creative is a huge part of me, it brings a tingle to my fingers and positivity in my head and altogether a nicer person to be around in our family.
Livia and I went to visit her new school. Her brother is already there, she knows all the teachers and they all know her. She was anxious at first, but when it was time to leave I couldn't get her out of there. We both came home happy with the visit and pretty reassured that she will take to school like a duck to water.
Since facing this fear, and resting to recuperate from the bug, my mind is buzzing with ideas and my hands want to create.
These are the things I have learnt from my first creative hurdle:
- Just try, it doesn't have to be perfect. This is something I always tell the kids and I truly believe but when it comes to me I am hard on myself. I often don't start something because I worry the end result won't be perfect. I am going to change this.
- Write tomorrow's to-do list tonight while things are fresh in your mind. I completely faff around when I wake up and can't remember what the priorities are.
- Switch off from pinterest and beautiful blogs that make you feel insufficient. They will still be there when your creative mojo comes back and you'll find them inspiring and positive places to read again.
- Try a different medium - for me the photo walks and giving myself a theme (here and here) were small creative outlets which required hardly any energy or time.
- Connect with what nurtures you. In my case this is nature: just by sitting on our sunny steps in the garden I feel much better. For you it could be calling a friend, painting, reading a book.
- Give in to the process - perhaps these hurdles happen to give us a break, to set ourselves on a different path or to look inwards.
How do you deal with your creative blocks?