If you took a calendar, and mapped out the days or weeks when you are SUPER motivated and feeling creative, how many days would you see? Yikes.
One of the most frustrating things that I have battled with is managing the ebbs and flows of creativity. How frustrating is it to have a taste of FIRE for a few days only to be sluggish and unmotivated the next day? Example: The past three days I have finished a giant 4ft painting, sold a smaller painting, made Christmas cards and mailed them out, wrapped Christmas presents, made a watercolor painting for a friend who lost a pet, and the list goes on and on. Just a PURGE of creativity. Checking things off lists like nobody’s business.
If you’re like me you blame yourself. Why can’t I be a creative badass and be constantly on point?
First off one thing I have learned is that NOT ONE PERSON IS CONSTANTLY ON POINT. If you believe that, just stop. Right now. I truly do believe that the Creative Flow Monster comes and goes and he or she goddamn well pleases. You have no say. However… you can control how you react to a lack of motivation or inspiration.
If you were able to interview every artist or musician or athlete you have ever looked up to, you would find one thing in common: they are human. The main difference between yourself and that “idol” is your thoughts. Your thoughts form your habits which form your actions which form your future. You are allowed to be a human and have days where you simply can’t even fathom working your brain. It may be environmental, it may be inner conflict, it may be physical limitation like illness or disease.
Whichever your battle may be, be prepared to fight.
Now that may seem like the opposite of what you’d expect. Most of the time you hear “love yourself, take care of yourself, be easy on yourself” when you’re at your low point. I disagree with that when it comes to lack of creativity. You must arm yourself with the tools you need to stoke your creative fire when it seems all the fuel has disappeared. You have to be ready for those down days by creating habits that will support you when you can’t support yourself.
The Creative Flow Monster is a bitch. We all know how much she means to us, and when she’s visiting, she’s our favorite guest. She graces us with so much stimulation. And we all know how thirsty we can get as depraved artists. But then, we get ghosted. Just like that she’s out and your left in a puddle on the floor not making any money or any work or any moves.
Here are some examples of things you can do to stay on top of your game even when you feel like throwing the canvas in the trash or punching that badass artist on Instagram in the face.
write: this can be in a journal or on a blog or even on your phone. Whether you believe me or not, even just 10 minutes of writing can not only make you feel like you accomplished something, it DOES accomplish something. You may get a new idea, you may realize something you didnt before, or at the very least you can tell yourself you did something creative.
read: we often underestimate the power of reading. This does not include Instagram captions or Facebook posts. Grab a book or buy a new book on your phone. If you’re ADD like myself, set a timer, even just 15 minutes, and read! It’s so easy, and most times, you can’t stop at 15, you’ll keep going. Your brain will be flooded with information that will make you feel inspired. Even if it’s a new recipe. Or a steamy romance chapter.
treat yourself: go to dinner, order a new sweater or paintbrush or movie or pair of shoes. Remember on your down days to treat yourself! This is a tool we often don’t feel we deserve when we’re not inspired and not creating. Why would I reward myself when I havn’t earned it? Because your psyche is telling you you need some TLC!
do something for someone else: this is a very old concept. Have you ever complimented someone or made a note for someone or made someone smile and felt like crap afterwards? NO. Probably not. You feel like you’re floating! You feel kind, worthy, warm, happy, and just plain good. It can be as simple as calling that friend you always say you’ll call but never do? Or that family member?
Feeling uninspired and worthless? Call someone. Listen to them and their stories, stop thinking about yourself for 5 minutes…
Keep little ideas like this in your arsenal. When it comes time for battle, you will remember these. Pick one or two and just do it. They are simple activities that could change your entire train of thought and curb your down days.