I never wanted to be a “starving artist”. I attended art school to learn graphic design skills so that I could make a living at my craft. Maybe that’s the practical side of me; which is always at fighting with my creative side. So, I became a graphic designer because being a fine artist was too risky. The practical side won the battle.
But as the years have drummed on, working like a dog as a graphic designer, I have found that the artist inside of me has been screaming for help. Almost drowning.
At my day job as a graphic designer, I have taken a few hits lately. Ones that have me feeling like I made a huge mistake all these years, that working like a dog and playing it safe hasn’t paid off. That maybe I should have thrown caution to the wind and become a starving artist.
And worse yet—these career hits have me over-thinking the situation and feeling like I am not even comfortable in this creative skin—I have creative block.
Creative, is how many people describe me.
That’s me, they say.
So, if I have a creative block…not creative at the moment—who am I? What do we do when that creative feeling is on hiatus? When, no matter how hard you try, it just isn’t happening? What do we do when we feel lost in the creative world, when we take brush to paper and what comes out is something a kindergartener would paint? (Maybe your creative is writing, dancing, making music, clay; whatever it is, you are not a stranger to the dreaded creative block.)
Because if you are like me and described as “creative”; it’s your very being of who you are. It’s how you are defined. But now you have lost “it”, so in the words of a hookah smoking caterpillar, “Whooo aaarrre yooouuuu?” if you are not creative.
There are lots of different types of creative block. Mine is stemming from stress and frustration at work, being overworked at work, and trying to force the creativity to come when I have nothing left to give. Because graphic designers have to be creative all.the.time. It’s our job to be creative.
Creatives are our own worst critics and enemy. We are very hard on ourselves. When our very livelihood depends on being creative but, we can’t be creative, we beat ourselves up. That just makes matters worse.
So what do we do when creative block strikes? Well, I turn to Google.
Creative block: the struggle is real. Rather than give you a list of things to do, because I am obviously not an expert, here are a few links that I have found helpful to put this whole creative block into perspective:
- 7 Types of Creative Blocks and What to do About Them
- 20 Expert Habits to Overcome Creative Block
- 11 Tricks for Battling Creative Block from Leading Creatives
Also, it’s helpful to remind yourself: It’s only a moment, not your life. This too shall pass. But until this thing passes, take a break, take a walk, breathe, and try something different to light a spark. Maybe take a trip to an art museum (or related event in your craft), buy some new supplies to get excited about your craft, or take a class where there isn’t the pressure of being creative, just enjoy creating.
I am curious. What do you do when creative block strikes?
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