Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Combating Artist's Block

A FaceBook friend messaged me the other day. She was having a problem that plagues every artist I've ever heard of. She said her creative motivation was on an extended sabbatical and wanted to know if I had any suggestions. I did, and thought I'd share them with you to file away for future artistic ennui.

Sir Isaac Newton of apple bopping head fame discovered the physical law (which I am reminded of almost daily, thanks to a current television commercial) that states 'an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest maintains it's slothful position unless impacted by an outside source'. Or something like that.

\sum \mathbf{F} = 0 \Rightarrow \frac{d \mathbf{v} }{dt} = 0.

What this means to artists is that the longer you allow 'writer's block' to have it's way, the more your creativity will hide in the dark corners of your brain and refuse to come out and play when you ask it to. You have to take an active role in convincing your imagination to return to the studio. Another advertiser shares the secret to success.
Okay. Sometimes it's not as easy as that. But to shift the status quo, you have to shake things up. Some other smart person said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same things over and over, and expecting a different result".

• Rearrange your studio or change the location of your work space.
• Take it outside. A computer or sketchbook works just as well at a cyber cafe or a bench at the park as it does in your house.
• Have a play date with some friends. Crafting with others is sure to get those creative juices flowing. 
• Take a class in another medium. The more techniques you have to draw on, the richer your work will be.
• Use low cost materials. Sometimes the expense of materials is enough to scare away our willingness to experiment. Go to the craft store and look for supplies that mimic your chosen art.
• Sit in your studio and make components. In the case of jewelry, create a supply of bails, granulation balls, molded elements, or new textures. Making anything will invite the muses to return.
• Take part in a challenge. Let another source give you some ground rules to follow and then use your own voice to create something that you might not have thought of otherwise.

The important thing is not to let it go too long. Get back on the horse, don't let the b*&stards get you down, show ennui who's boss! If you just can't shake it, get your potassium levels checked. There may be a physical reason for your malaise.


Vickie Hallmark said...

Great post, Lora! Next, post about what to do when you kick yourself into the studio and "just do it" and Murphy follows you in there and makes everything that can go wrong go way wrong. ;-)

Zoe Nelson said...

Great advice. As one who's been there/done that on several occasions I can say that I've tried everything on your list. They all work, but sometimes you just have to have some down time - just don't let it go on too long.

stacey maddock said...

all excellent ideas! i try to do the class in another medium at least once a year, but some of the others will definitely come in handy, thank you!

Lora Hart said...

Vickie, see Zoe's comment.

Zoe, I totally agree. Sometimes ennui is simply the creativity center's way of sorting and filing the input of previous days, months and years. But if you give it too long - it forgets it's job and starts demanding extra crunchy potato chips!

Angela Crispin said...

Hmmmmm ... Extra crunchy potatoe chips ... With sour cream ? No, no, put that down and get back to work ... Been there, done that, then went to Spain for the Summer, that helps too (or so I hope). Xo!

Michele r. said...

Thx Lora ur blog about what to do if u get
Stuck helped me!
Thx again
Michele Rannells

Lora Hart said...

Glad my words of wisdom (ha!) could help Michele.