A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with a close friend when the topic of personal creative expression came up. My friend, like many others, had found them self in a bit of a creative rut. A paralyzed state that most creatives, if not all, come across time and time again. I myself have found this to be a repeated pattern throughout my life. I would consider my self to have been a creative from birth in a wide variety of expressive forms. The moment I was allowed to have crayons in hand I was creating personal masterpieces on any “canvas” I could find, many surfaces of which were not to my parents liking. This continued in various forms until around the age of 12 or 13, when I made a mental shift.
It was at this age I started sharing my artwork with class mates and friends. I suddenly had a new status of popularity, with requests coming in for a drawing of this or a sketch that. At first I loved the attention my art was getting, as I had only ever received praise from my parents for my creative endeavors. My amusement quickly perished as requests continued to come in, feeling as if I now had a duty to impress and please my new fan base. It was at this point I became paralyzed within my own craft… I lost my passion and wasn’t finding it anytime soon. In fact it wasn’t for another 3+ years that I picked up sketching and designing again, in which the process seemed to start all over again.
Up until this last year I had no clue as to why I was finding myself in these ruts. How could I be so enthusiastic and full of inspiration one week, yet paralyzed and drained for the next week.. month.. year? It took turning my creative passion into a career to figure it out. I noticed as I took project after project my energy level started to decrease as it had in the past. I was entering into this phase yet again, however this time I couldn’t afford to let it happen being my income was on the line.
What was the solution?… More work! It’s true this was the key to keeping my energy and creative enthusiasm. The catch is, it wasn’t client work. I simply started adding personal projects on the side. I started creating for the simple sake of creating, and it was like a shot of expresso to my inspiration. I was finishing my client projects with extraordinary results and enjoyed it the whole way through… well besides the inevitably tense moments of brain farts in big projects that happen whether Im inspired or not.
It has taken me a long time to realize it, but now that I have it has awaken my true ability, which is only just beginning. Obviously I still do the work and designs I do with my studio, but then theres the stuff Im creating just to express my own creative vision, for no one but myself. To just be a kid again, and let the imagination run butt ass naked through the fields of creativity, is true creative innocence.
Far to often we get so caught up in pleasing others, whether its for our jobs, or because were looking for approval from others, we forget to please our most important audience… Ourselves. When we do that our art loses its artist and becomes an unattached piece that we will never be able to connect with.
Ever since I’ve embraced this idea, my creative life has flourished in many ways. Its this reason why I choose to take on the challenge of creating each and every day for no one other than myself. However, I do love that you all can enjoy the journey with me, as its always better with friends 🙂
What about you? Can you relate to being in a creative rut? Was it because you lost your creative innocence? What personal projects are you creating solely for yourself?