Tuesday 20 November 2018

The Block.

We all feel blocked from time to time, but what happens when you depend on your creativity for your career? What happens if your creativity is a large part of who you are and it has temporarily left you? Personally speaking my creativity is as natural as breathing. It is something I have always had and loved for as long as I can remember. It is quite terrifying when something you can lay your hand on in most situations, at any time, simply disappears.  The most reasonable people will suddenly get superstitious about their creative process and whether the blarney (as Joni Mitchell called it) flows or not. It doesn't matter if you have been professional for 30 years or someone who has just started dabbling 'The Block' can hit at any time.

All kinds of rituals are created to try and secure success. Routines are established, special motivational cuppas are drunk, different ways to calm a busy brains are practiced and ways to decorate blank white walls in the mind are dreamed up. A motto one of my lecturers repeated almost daily was 'Creativity is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration,' something I am definitely not going to argue here, but that lightening strike is priceless. For me it feels like inspiration comes from somewhere else. The end product will be shaped by my style, influences, symbolism and narrative but on particularly productive days it feels like the colours and ideas just flow through me. I am a bit murky about where that somewhere else is. When it's working and you know when you are on to something you don't question it. You take it with both hands and say thank you very much.

Yes creativity is like magic to me. It is amazing what you can do and especially when you have a group of people all pooling their ideas. You may have the odds stacked against you, no time, no money, no help or understanding. You might have half a plan with a lot of faith and trust in your capabilities and something beautiful might happen.

Blank pages staring up at you can be terrifying and the pressure to start something can be enormous. The simplest way to combat this is to get something down. Anything. It can be something very rough, a splash of colour, some scribbled lines, something you chuck away later but at least it's a start. 'The Block' is like insomnia, if you let it take hold it can last for what feels like a lifetime. You have to break it as soon as possible. Sometimes it is important to shake things up, have a change of scene. Talk to someone in a similar position to you and  talk about what they are doing, what's exciting them. 

I struggle in between projects. My projects can be quite intense and take up all my brain and energy while I'm doing them and can take months to complete. I can feel myself being a colour bore or Frida Kahlo freak when I'm talking to friends! I think sometimes you can just become tired and your creativity needs to recuperate just like any other part of your body when you have been using them too much. I think it is important to keep moving though. It is important to keep the mechanics going drawing, observing, like a muscle, keep exercising so you don't become stiff and stop moving altogether. I enjoy drawing simple things around me, taking small steps, being gentle while my creativity lies dormant. These little recordings of your life are just stepping stones towards something bigger. How we are within ourselves will effect anything we create externally. Taking time to be comfortable, refreshed and relaxed will allow our creativity to grow.

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