Creative Blocks: finding ways to keep the productive energy going
Creative Blocks, it is one of those things that sometimes a percentage of creatives, artists, photographers, writers, etc will go through. I have gone through them and at first I found these bouts of lack of feeling inspired frustrating, in time I have learned to just go with it, ride it out, and take it has a chance to straighten some other things out in life or find some other way of letting the creative energy go in a different than usual direction. I’d figure I would share a little of my experiences learnings and observations of these not so creatively motivated moments.
When I first started photography, taking a lot of pictures is what I went out and did for awhile it was all new to me, exciting and easy to go out and take a lot of photographs. In time I began to improve and started to set standards for my work towards a direction I wanted to go has I moved from amateur to professional, with that decision and self chosen responsibility came pressure. In my experience where there is pressure to perform or achieve comes expectations and with expectations comes more standards to meet a self set criteria. With this new set (often probably not needed, different discussion) of self standards somewhere the fun if not careful can disappear and what was once a creative experience becomes an endeavor of labor. When things for me in the past have transitioned to this state of mind or flow I notice my work will change and become more redundant in approach and style. When this happens what has helped me breakthrough these feelings of pressure and back to having fun, I’ll just take a break and try to focus on things that originally got me excited about either waves or photography. So I’ll either just go for a surf or take a road trip to find different landscape subjects to take photographs of. This usually does the trick most of the time and has worked well for me in the past for getting things going again.
Then there is times when I have hit deeper moments of creative blocks, where I have moved down the checklist of tricks and nothing seems to work to get me going again. This is where I know to look a little harder at what is going on but not just with photography related things but with life. Is there something or things that have been weighing me down and having my head drifting in other places. This usually signals has a good time to reflect on and look over anything that has been going on in life. Is something getting to me financially, personally or was there some recent event, encounter or experience that had a deeper impact than initially realized. This is when it is good to just be and really slow things down and be aware of mental states of mind. For me I’ve discovered if something is off on things that effect your day to day life or is causing frequent stress there can be a domino effect that seems to eventually overcast everything creatively and that seems to eventually overcast things personally has time is being taken away from doing the things that make you, you.. This is such a good time to put self care first and break through this stage of creative blocks,” first take care of self”, I believe the saying goes.
Burnout and fatigue, this is just when you have gone too hard for too long seemingly ignoring everything else. This for me has lead to moments of creative blocks to the point it feels like your can not go on anymore. Again also a time to slow things down when at this point of frustration and get some rest while readjusting goals and schedules to be able to stay fresh. This is also when I’ll try to mix it up if I’m feeling burnout of just taking pictures of waves for example after pushing hardest through my favorite months of March through September I’ll just go take photographs of let say fall foliage instead to keep my skills engaged, the sense of adventure going and most importantly the creative energy alive.
Anyway as I am just coming out of a creative block where creating anything just seemed to not want to happen, I figured it would be a good time to reflect and share some of my experiences along my own artistic journey. Not all creative people have moments of blockage but for any of your that do go through it just find what works for you to get you back on your own creative path.