However creative we are, and whatever forms we create in, there are times when the magic seems to have faded a little.
Instead of seeing our creative life in bright colours and surround sound it’s become more like a black and white TV in the corner with fuzzy reception, and a single crackly speaker that sounds like it’s transmitting underwater.
Most of us in this kind of situation start to panic and think we’re in some kind of creative dip or state of block. In the most extreme cases we might wonder if we’ll ever create again like in the “golden days”, and might even consider giving up creating altogether. It’s not a pleasant place to be.
So what can you do to regain that carefree flowing state of creating that’s so enticing and so wonderful to be lost in?
The first point is to not panic, and to acknowledge that we all have creative cycles to an extent. Another way of looking at it is like the seasons. We have our high summers of abundant creativity where everything is in full bloom and bathed in a warm honey yellow glow. Then we have times that feel like midwinter, where our surroundings seem barren, bleak and all life seems buried in a state of hibernation.
These seasons won’t be in tune with the natural seasons of nature necessarily and you might not cycle through them in the same order.
But just accept that we do all have lulls and highs, times of high productivity, and times of rest. It’s ok, this all part of the creative life.
It’s not possible for anyone to remain highly inspired constantly for long periods.
A useful next step is to look at what you loved so much about the form you’re currently creating in when you first got in to it.
What drew you to it? What made it so exciting, rewarding and like nothing else in your life? Why did you create in that form, what did it do for you, what did it give you?
Because we live with ourselves day in day out it’s difficult to maintain perspective sometimes. You might think you’re doing exactly the same things you were doing a week, a month, a year ago, and wondering why you’re not feeling the same. But it’s very unlikely that you are doing the exact same things.
Everything evolves. This includes us as artists in what and how we create, as well as our lives around us.
We’ve never the same person from moment to moment. Although of course we have our core personality and passions and talents, with each new experience and stimulation that enters our life we become a little altered, we evolve a little more.
Again this is the natural way of life, and of creating. We can’t stay the same forever and shouldn’t try to. With each new creative project, with each new experience we become a little richer, a little more filled with life. As we evolve, our art will evolve too.
The art you were creating 20 years ago won’t be the same as the art you were creating 20 days ago or 20 weeks ago.
Next, think about what you really want to try but never have. It might be something within your main creative medium, or it might be something completely different.
Be brave, push the boundaries a little.
If you’re a photographer and have always photographed landscapes and natural scenes, maybe there’s a burning urge in you to try some portraits. Or something really abstract like experimenting with light and movement, “painting” with your camera rather than trying to capture a perfectly in focus shot each time.
If you’re a writer and have always written short stories, you might want to try some poetry, or a play, or some character studies. Again, like the photography example, you might want to go more abstract and try writing in a new form and structure, or even make up your own words and write purely phonetically.
The key is to experiment, to try what you haven’t tried before.
From the mere fact that it’s something new, it’ll give you a little surge of excitement, maybe even a little trepidation. This is all good, it’s a new adventure, these kind of feelings will always be present, and they’re a signal that you are exploring your art and yourself, rather than treading water and churning out the same work over and over.
A final point.
It’s ok to let go of the art forms that have always been important to you. Especially if you’ve become bored and uninspired with them. If they’re that important, they’ll find a way back to you, you won’t be able to ignore them.
Sometimes it’s only through letting stuff go that we create enough space to see what really does matter.
And with creating, feelings of excitement and being in that magical flow – whatever the medium – are more important than trying to force yourself to create in the same discipline just because it USED to always motivate you.
Go through these steps this weekend.
Be kind to yourself, realise that we al have ebbs and flows and seasons, but that our creativity will always find ways of expressing itself somehow.
Try something different in your main art form – or in something completely new – without any expectation. Just enjoy that sensation of being on a new adventure.
Enjoy that feeling of your creative glow gently returning.
If you like what you just read, please use the buttons below to share with others who might do too. This helps support and spread the word about my writing.