Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Life of an Artist: Overcoming the Artistic Blues

It happens.  Sometimes, it seems to come out of no where and at other times the slump is predictable.  It is that feeling of uneasiness, struggle, and pain that every creative person experiences.

Some things that cause a slump, down turn or serious period of self-doubt:

  • Illness
  • A period of growth in which you are learning but haven't become completely comfortable with your new skill set
  • Perfectionism
  • Negative "I Am" statements such as, "I am not good enough."  
  • I am sure you can add to the list of things that cause these slumps and I suggest that you do write down a list so that you are aware of when you are facing a danger zone.
Every artist faces these painful slumps and obviously some recover from them more quickly than others.  If you are interested in minimizing the negative impacts of a down period here are some ideas:
  • Following an illness try to return to your routine in a modified fashion.  Sometimes, doing too much too fast only prolongs the illness and frustration.  Be positive with yourself when you do get back to creating and remind yourself that if you treat your body well you will get back in the swing of things more quickly.  
  • When going through a growth period where you are stretching yourself also give yourself the opportunity to incorporate skills and techniques that you are already comfortable with.  Take breaks in which you go back to your comfort zone for a specific period of time and then continue on with your learning and experimenting.  Remind yourself that everyone begins somewhere and there is no such thing as wrong in art.  It is all a part of the learning process.
  • Re-frame those negative "I Am" statements.  "I am good enough."  "I have done enough."  "I have something unique to offer."  Use the positive "I Am" statements in your work.  
  • Keep a list of things that inspire you to create.  Some people use Pinterest boards for this.  Resources for getting back into your creative mindset might be: a music play list, a set of favorite movies, online support groups, etc.  
  • Cultivate a positive creative practice.  My practice is to: prep my work space, put on my play list, eat my breakfast, prepare a cup of ice water to keep hydrated while working, turn off the computer, and alert my family that I am going to be occupied.  I even take care of my pets needs before I get started and like so many others, I have a dog bed in my studio so that I can keep an eye on my youngest dog.  In other words, I set the stage for success.