Musings on creativity and my recent lack thereof

I’ve been lacking inspiration for a while now. At first I thought it was just physical fatigue, I recently suffered with a bout of Dengue Fever and my energy levels have been on the low side of the spectrum. But it’s been weeks and weeks since my hospital stay and I’m technically fully recovered, so it isn’t that.

Thoughts on creativity and inspiraton

I’m not short of ideas (or ideas on what ‘needs’ doing), my head is full of them. Ideas that rattle around in my brain and stop me from getting to sleep at a decent hour. Ideas that start off as manageable projects, but in my mind grow so large that I am overwhelmed before I even begin. Ideas that never see the light of day because they get put aside on the ‘too hard’ pile to be tackled later, but never are.

Sometimes I want the things I make and do to be so polished, that the thought of presenting something less than perfect is hugely disappointing to me. So the inspiration goes and nothing gets made.

They say – A blogger is only as good as their last post – and don’t I feel it! That little hamster wheel I run and run on, working hard but staying in place. The pressure to always be fresh and new, but still ‘on trend’ and relatable. It’s the cause of my inspiration flat line.

Physical fatigue isn’t my problem, even though I’m always tired. My lack of energy stems from my lack of creativity. I get all my motivation and drive from creative projects, so I seem to be in a little self perpetuating negative cycle at the moment: no energy = no creativity, no creativity = no energy!

What to do?

Today I had the pleasure of attending a media preview of the new NGV exhibition ‘VIKTOR & ROLF FASHION ARTISTS’. During a Q&A with the curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot and Viktor & Rolf, much of what they spoke about really resonated with me.

These guys march to the beat of their own drum. They don’t bow to trends, or in most cases even make their ‘fashion’ practical to wear. They see their work as art for the body, making every piece a statement with social commentary in every collection.

When they found themselves creatively drained from the pressures of the fashion industry which expects designers to create up to 16 collections a year they said NO very literally.

Viktor & Rolf NGV - No Trenchcoat

Read my review of the exhibition here

And later as I wandered though the gallery, I realised that, I put a lot of arbitrary pressure on myself, and it’s time to give me some space to just be.

Maybe it’s ok if every photo isn’t perfectly edited, or blog post fantastically written. I don’t have to re-invent the wheel with every craft project, or even make things that are useful. I have issues with making things that serve no ‘purpose’, it’s a silly, self imposed restriction that is stifling me at the moment. I’m not making anything because I don’t need anything, I mean, do we all really need all the stuff that surrounds us?

But VIKTOR & ROLF seem to have gotten past the limitations of fashion’s expectations of utility and elevated their work into art, so maybe I can take a leaf from their book and incorporate some art practice into my work too.

I need to think about why I make and blog and get back to the essence of what drives me. I need to think less about visitor stats, social shares and if readers will like what I do, and focus more on liking what I do.

I don’t know if this is the answer to finding my inspiration again, but maybe I’ve just found the path that leads in the right direction. There will be missteps, but if I just keep going at my own pace, I’ll get to where I need to be.

Will you come along for the ride?

16 Comments

  • Brigitte says:

    A great post. Honest and true. I love it. Especially as I sit here hand painting a Gratitude Journal for my sisters birthday while listening to Thank and Grow Rich by Pam Grout on audio-book. What you say really rings true and one girl (in the book) took it to the extreme where she decided to switch off from what she felt she “had” to do and just kept doing the things she wanted to and things just started to “happen” and take shape. Even wanting to eventually tidy up her room which was untouched through this whole process. I’m trying to take this approach in my life at the moment seeing as I’ve lost my major client – I’m a Graphic Designer – so there’s no work coming in so therefore no money. I figure I just concentrate on the painting I WANT to do as well as the things that need to be done over the next ten weeks before Christmas and everything will fall into place and be fine and dandy …. Crossed fingers! EEEEK! I get you. Really I do! :) <3

    • Sometimes change can be exciting, even if it’s forced on us by circumstances beyond our control. The possibilities of what can be are always exciting to me.
      I’ve been decluttering the house lately and looking forward to just being surrounded by things that have meaning and purpose.

      • Brigitte says:

        Yep, I do think sometimes the Universe DOES have our back. I’m certainly just trying to roll with things at the moment. It’s very exciting to see what happens when I don’t push things. I can’t wait to get to the de-cluttering of my computer and home (and my receipts for my tax!!!). Yep, all those things are slowly happening along with figuring what direction I REALLY want to go with my art and work life. :) Enjoy the de-cluttering!

  • Maria Josep says:

    Of course, inspiration to do what you like and you want to do! So you’ll have the great satisfaction of driving yourself, and the people who really like your work will continue following and enjoyiing your blog and your creativity!
    Get well -from outside and inside- very soon! 😉 (sorry for my poor english)

  • Anneliese Ingham says:

    I have found that the quickest way, for me that is, to get out of a creative funk is to go do something for someone else! Volunteer at Emma’s school, help a friend move, or paint, or re-organize a room/closet, make some meals for an elderly friend, or help them with yard work or give their house a good clean up. Have any girl friends just had a baby? They definitely need help lol I’m sure the local shelter is always in need of a volunteer. Most often when I get out there and do something for someone else it’s rather physical which clears out the cobwebs in my brain, and whoever is being helped is very appreciative and happy which then gets my “happy juices” (aka endorphins) flowing lol All in all, you come away with a sense of getting something done, and that in reality you have it pretty good, and that you now have about 10 new ideas that have stemmed from you helping with a, b, c, that could have helped the project gone quicker, more efficient or just more fun! It’s something to try anyways ?

    • Some great suggestions here. I am having a bit of a clean up at the moment which is unearthing some stuff I’ve forgotten about. I’m also letting go of things I no longer need which is quite freeing.

  • Angelene Flowers says:

    Yup, totally resonated with me. My muse is fickle and has been MIA for a while now. Maybe due to a devastating emotional blow suffered this past summer, or maybe just plain worn out from pressure to produce sellable product constantly. Whatever the reason, she’s been gone for too long and I’d love to welcome her back!

    • I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a tough time lately. I too struggled creatively when I had to make to sell and was always thinking about what was marketable instead of what was interesting to make. It really took the fun out of crafting and that’s one of the reasons I stepped away from selling my products. It’s a hard balance to get right. Can you afford to stop selling for a little while to experiment with new ideas? Or maybe reach out and collaborate with someone in your creative circle, who knows what will come of it.

      I worked alone for many years and found it very lonely.
      I hope you find your way soon.

  • Trish Peach says:

    I think as creative beings this happens and re-evaluate ourselves every so often. Sometimes it is best not to be too critical, as I have found and just make what makes me happy. I just did a show on the weekend which was poorly attended and I hardly sold anything after all the work I put in I felt like throwing it all in! I have a desire to make stuff to feel grounded so I thought well looks like I will be enjoying my new wardrobe :) It is important to recognise that feeling of being stuck but the good thing is that when we get out of that funk we will see much more with new eyes. Thanks for sharing, this is a great post and I love your blog!

    • Hi Trish. I checked out your blog and your clothes are so fun. Good thing you made them in your size! Selling at fairs is hard and so unpredictable. It can take many months/years of attending regularly to build up a customer base, don’t be disheartened. I had a handmade market stall business for many years and it was full of highs and lows. As you say, sometimes we need to be shaken up a bit to start fresh again. I’m cutting myself some slack and tackling some personal projects guilt free.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  • Naomi says:

    I too have been feeling like this. This post summed up some of my recent feelings and was lovely and honest as I feel many bloggers are too busy keeping up with trends to be brave enough to break the ‘conventions’. Another problem I have, though, is finding the time to be creativity now, as I have a very busy school life. Crafting used to relax me, but my inability to do it now is stressing. Any tips?

    • Yes I think I was feeling quite stressed because I didn’t have the time or energy to craft after being unwell. It’s really important for our mental health I think.
      If you are short on time maybe try to find some small portable projects that you can have with you so when you are on the bus or waiting for an appointment you can pull it out and do a few stitches.
      EPP hexies are great for that, maybe some small knitting or crochet some squares for a blanket.

  • Debi Haverly says:

    Wonderful post! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a very long time, but haven’t primarily because of my fear that exactly what you describe will happen and my blog will not be perfect, I won’t have time to post enough, I’ll get “performance anxiety paralysis,” no one will like my work…etc…etc…You and your readers have made me see that it’s okay ~ we’re all only human and us creative types seem to understand each other :)) Now I just have to get over platform/technology anxiety…thanks for posting!

    • Brigitte says:

      I’m a bit the same Debi – what to write, how often, etc, etc. I guess the only way of finding out where we’re going wrong is by putting it out there and improving it as we go. Live experience is the best way to find out. What’s that saying? Something like “it’s better to try and fail than to not have tried at all”? So many people have done it before us so we can do it too. You’ve inspired me in a funny way Debi to get my butt into gear. Ha ha!! :)

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