Thursday, 22 June 2017

Why Creative Blocks Are Good For Us

I wanted to write about creative blocks, because - and I make no secret of this, I have them - have just had one (it lasted a couple of weeks which is tough and feels like a long time when you're in business as an artist) - and I wanted to talk about why they are good for us and how they can help us grow as both artists and individuals.

I'm just like you and I have times when I feel utterly stuck and don't want to create.  In the past I have suffered, struggled and fought with these feelings - the dissipation of the urge to paint and make art created huge waves of fear, as it's something that I associate as part of my make up, it's part of the fabric of who I am, and without art I feel a bit lost.

I have journeyed through creative blocks that last a few days, and then sometimes drag out for weeks where nothing, seemingly, happens.  In the early days I used to flap, force myself to do something with paint - anything - as long as I was in front of a piece of paper or canvas making an attempt.

And yet, it was time wasted.  I have learnt that trying to force art when I feel this way is a waste of my time and materials.  I inevitably end up feeling more downcast as a result.  I hear the whispers and the chiding of those critical inner voices softly telling me I'll never paint again, and what a hopeless mess this all is, and how I'll probably have to go get a 'proper' job now etc...and so yes, I have learnt over the years what to do when these blocks arise, when the apathy settles like a thick fog, when the mind feels numb.

I allow it.

As strange as that may seem, I allow myself to feel blocked, and gently allow myself to do other things.  I avoid the studio, and I fill my days with writing, maybe meeting friends, attending to other aspects of the business instead.  I go for walks, I take long baths and have early nights, I read light hearted fiction books, maybe pick up a crochet project and I journal a lot too.  I've found it so healing to get my fears and thoughts out onto paper this way.

Often times, it's no one reason as to why a creative block has emerged, and although I don't exactly welcome these blocks with open arms, I have learned to accept and tolerate them, understanding that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  Sometimes, life events are the reason why I stop painting, and I sometimes go through periods of feeling pretty low which can trigger them (and which I attribute to being in my 40's and all the challenges that brings for a woman).  Again, it's about honouring whatever shows up for you at the time, and making space for acceptance instead of pushing against it. 

I've come to see creative blocks as a positive gift, because for me when I surface again I am brimming with ideas and creativity.  My mind seems to know no boundaries and there is inspiration everywhere, my soul is buzzing with an excited energy.  

No creative block will ever last forever.  Fact.

You will come out of the other side, it will all come flooding back - bigger, shinier, brighter and clearer and you will then understand why you stopped.
It is so we can grow as individuals and creative souls, it is so we can take a moment to really listen to ourselves and just 'be'.  When we have exhausted our wells, we need to allow space for new ideas to be born.  A creative block is medicene, it doesn't feel like it as you travel through your empty days but I can assure you that it is a healing conduit to a new, inspired you.

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