Do I have one? Yesterday was one of those dismal days that I think every artist I’ve ever known has encountered—that day when you wonder if you’re really creative at all. Why are things suddenly so hard? Why are ideas flopping left and right?
Yes, that was me. And this was my work table—piled high with beads (some were on the floor too) for a tutorial design that had seemed wonderful all week and up until the very moment I sat down to make it reality. Nothing worked! Colors, shape, texture—they all disagreed with my design!
I began to wonder how designs like these came together. Were they just a happy accident? Do I really know what I’m doing? Am I crazy?
Haha! At this point I laughed and poured myself another cup of coffee… I was doing it again! I was feeling the effects of overworking myself and forcing creativity.
We all know that creativity can’t be forced. Some days it comes easily and other days it would have been better to have never entered the studio… or even gotten out of bed, for that matter!
It was a day of reflection yesterday. Most importantly I realized that my creative process has never changed, but it is sometimes stifled. I think that creativity is a precious, and often fleeting thing, and it only comes when it is entirely welcome.
I paused for a bit to think about what’s not working for me and why, and also, what has worked to overcome the issue in the past…
Re-evaluating the task: Stepping back and considering what has been completed. I like to know how much time I’ve spent and recalculate my estimate of time needed to finish. Hopefully I’m ahead of schedule (unlikely!) or at least on schedule (maybe!)… or if I’m behind (probably!) I can quickly determine what needs to be changed to meet my goal.
Re-organizing the mess: I’m an organized person by nature, but somehow things always get piled high on my work table. A few minutes spent straightening things always helps me! I get my work space back in order and find anything that was lost in my creative fury and am then ready for my next creation.
Completing monotonous, but necessary tasks: Marking things off my to-do list is always encouraging and I like to stick to the ones that require no brain power when I’m feeling uncreative. My hands are busy and things are getting accomplished and best of all, the monotony of the task allows my mind to wander on to new ideas.
Being inspired by accomplishments and mementos: I like to keep a few of my recent projects nearby for a reminder that I really do know what I’m doing. Mixed in with my creations on this shelf are several other mementos—a collection of found objects, gifts from friends and family… and one of my very first polymer creations: a little sculpture of my childhood pet rooster, Button, that I made early 2002.
I keep my jewelry boxes in my studio and often sort through them when I’m feeling uncreative. I’ve amassed way more jewelry than I have time to wear, but I love to go back through the creative process and reflect on what inspired each design. And I can’t forget about the art beads that they each hold—from artists all around the world—each bead is an inspiration!
Breathing some fresh air: A must! Even just 15 minutes out to see the growing things (or in my case lately—the falling snow and rain!) goes a long way to lifting my spirits. The quiet of nature with its unmatched creative wonders and the ease of life where money and career are of no significance is a beautiful thing!
And now, today… I’m feeling creative again! I’ve rediscovered my creative process and I remember now that I do in fact love to create. And that is something that will never change no matter how often I lose sight of it!
My tutorial design is even taking on new life… I think it may become something after all!
So to you all, I’m wishing you a very creative weekend. And for those of you who feel you’ve lost your creative process and are maybe even going down the scary road of doubting your skills and dreams—remember it’s okay! It’s part of being an artist. It helps us grow and better ourselves. Don’t be afraid to take a break. I hope my post has maybe inspired you to reflect on your own creative process and what it is that helps you move on and get back to the thing you love most: creating!