Thursday, September 06, 2007

...but while I'm mid-worry, it certainly feels like I'm alone.

You've might have noticed I've been a bit sick lately - and it has affected my creative output. And you may have noticed I'm busy with my study - and it has affected my creative output. You probably haven't noticed that I'm racked by doubts (because I purposefully try to keep that well hidden) - and it has affected my creative output. I guess I could say that having a job - has affected my creative output. And I could add having a brain (thinking about all this way too much) - has definitely affected my creative output. But, think about it too much, I do. (Truthfully I think these are all excuses.) What do you think?

Well first, if you like, you can have a look at what other people think here in an article on this very subject on Notebookism. (The video is a gem!) This proves what I've known for a long time - that I'm not alone in worrying about what I create. But while I'm mid-worry, it certainly feels like I'm alone. Is it good enough? The idea was so great, can the work do it justice? Where will I start? What will I do to finish it? Hang on, isn't the problem that the idea was crap to start with? And then it begins again.

Eventually I become creatively crippled, unable to do anything at all. Again.

The four of Mexican Standoff

I've done The Artist's Way, The War of Art, Trust the Process and several of Eric Maisel'sexcellent books and programs to break blocks and stimulate joyful and plentiful creating. All of these books have helped me enormously, some more than others, but ultimately they have helped me get through periods of block in the past. But here I am again. Does it mean these authors and their ideas have failed me? Or does it mean I have failed myself - again?

Actually, I'm not that pessimistic. I have experienced it enough to know that if I keep looking I will find the way out. Maybe it will be through one of these books again. Maybe it will be by trawling through thousands of images on Flickr, looking for inspiration. Maybe it will, by some miracle, be spontaneous. But I know I will get there. I am getting there.

The five of hopscotch

In a lot of the stuff I've read it is recommended that trying to recapture a child-like approach to creating helps. In the past I've taken this to mean doing child-like things, like drawing with crayon and textas or leaving detail well enough alone, maybe adding some gold star stickers. It was a lot of fun, but it hasn't really left me feeling creatively fulfilled. The search for that fulfillment remained an empty feeling in the back of my brain.

But this time, for some reason, the actual meaning of recapturing that child-like approach hit home. Not recapturing someone else's child-likeness! (Duh!) But recapturing my own child-ways of creating. As a child I did like to paint and draw, but what I really loved was making things. If I wanted something and I didn't have it I would make it out of cardboard, paper and wool! Aaah, thinking about those wild and free days of creativity is like drinking from a mountain spring to me.

The six of strangers

So that is what all these cards are about. I'm making something I don't have and I'm making them out of paper. (Actually, I have plenty of playing cards. But I'm not letting that stop me - I don't have any like these!) I'm not worrying about why I'm making them, I'm just embracing that creative spirit I remember and going with it. And I'm loving it!


Kiel said...

You're definitely doing a good job at hiding it. Your creativity has been pretty good lately, I've thought. I like your use of the cards. Keep up the good work.

fiona d said...

... and these cards are sooo creative and delight-ful. Your insight about what it really means to be child-like in one's own way is very inspiring - I had never thought of it that way

Deb Salter said...

I don't know if you're the kind of person that resorts to quotes, but I read this today and thought it very true of the creative process-
We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

Frank Tibolt
The great thing about experiencing doubts is all the new ways you learn to look at stuff!

Nyx said...

For me if I feel uninspired I have 2 choices in general, figure out why I feel that way, if its life sickness.. etc..and try and work off that, or just push through it.. There are times however when I have stoped drawing/making a certain thing for a few months and come back to it to realise it was my approach or missing knowledge about a method.. Though it would be nice to just know that at the time.. Perhaps brainstorming and simplifying will work in some parts.. Unfortunately I don't think there is a true fire cure for such a thing, but I hope you find a good path for yours! And again I love how your cards are turning out!

Linda said...

Woo Hoo! We can tell you're loving it! What a great post ...

Walter Logeman said...

You are doing 52 card. Projects help! My 1000 work for me in my grapple with doubt!

What also works:


Art books & Videos




Eric Maisel incantations (I have sketched the first 8)

Eliminating the words good and bad

Middle path

Taking time off my day job!

Looking forward to seeing how you go.


BTW, what is the medium for the cards, do you start with blank playing cards? Or do you round off your own corners?

Are you into ACEO cards? Would these be such?

Jan said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. It all helps! I'll be trying some of your suggestions.

Felicity said...

The cards are brilliant, I'd never have guessed you felt in a creative slump! I'm going through one - not quite a block but things are going so slowly. Seems they just come around regularly, no matter what you do or read so I just go with the flow to some extent.