by Martin Novell MFT
Artistic block can be difficult, particularly when you’re on a deadline. Or perhaps you haven’t been able to create for years, and you make your living from your art. What can you do to get back into a creative flow?
When we lose confidence in relationship to our creativity, we can become cruelly judgmental of ourselves and the work we do, putting an end to the normal flow of our talents. For the artist, the creative pathways are closely linked to self. So, art becomes an intimate reflection of the person. With art's perceived failure the creative portion of that person can be become shattered.
With self doubt, anxiety and depression can set in causing the artist to ask...
• Is my talent real?
• Do I really have something to say?
• Do I contribute anything original?
• Has my creation become so unique that no one can relate to it?
• If I say what’s on my mind, what will people think of me?
• Have I let past artists overly influence my work?
• Do I still have my creative abilities?
• What if I fail?
• Should I get a real job?
When these fears set in, building a wall between you and your creativity, an attitude change - a repositioning of your thoughts, a new way of viewing your work - is the best way back to artistic fulfillment. With this change in thinking you can work through your creative barriers successfully.
Here is some insight into breaking through the wall of creative block:
1. Describe the fear, anxiety, and hopelessness… write about it, take pictures of it, paint it, give it form. As you give it a form (in the poem, sculpture, painting) your creation is informing you of who you are, now! It may be telling you to take a different direction. Listen to yourself.
2. Live in the present. Your view of what might happen in the future, if you do finish your project is what may actually be worrying you, stopping you from taking action. Do you have the “What ifs?”
3. Do anything except art, for a while. You need some time to reconnect the disconnect between your self-confidence and your creativity so that discipline and spontaneity can come together.
4. Go ahead and create something imperfect. Write something badly, paint something awful, take pictures of terrible images, perform poorly. Just express yourself.
5. When you encounter artistic block, grieve at the loss of creativity. Feel sad; it is sad. Grieving is a natural way to close a chapter that needs to be closed - and when closed it also allows space for something new - which is what creativity is all about.