This subject has been touched on before in this blog, but I wanted to expand on the ideas previously discussed.
Some people, when they don’t feel in the mood or are feeling tired, depressed or ill or sad, take that as an excuse to not create anything. While I like a rest from frenzied activity as much as the next person, I don’t think that response is always a healthy one. Taken to its logical conclusion, you can always find a reason to not show up at your workspace and create.
Firstly, think about the consequences of not creating. The work you would have done will not exist. It will not give you or anybody else the pleasure that the creation would have given. You are no further forward. You may be setting yourself up for never creating that thing in the future. You might actually be subtly reinforcing the reason for your depression.
Secondly, the act of creating is a tonic in itself. If you are feeling low and down, the immersion in the process of creating can lift your spirits faster than anything else that I know.
So how do you actually get to work when you are feeling like you don’t want to create? How do you overcome the inertia?
What I do is literally just start something. Make a mark. Write a word. Don’t worry about the thoughts running through your head that the result will be rubbish, given how bad you feel. What if it is rubbish? Does your entire career (or hobby) as an artist have to end because of one rubbish creation? Of course not. You can put it down to experience. You can even throw it away and destroy it, if you want. There is very little to lose in creating something rubbish.
If you start with the idea that it doesn’t matter how bad the thing you produce will be, then creating when you don’t feel like it is easier. You do it because you’re going through the motions. You’re doing it to keep your hand in. You are starting because you just want to see what happens.
It is at this point of actually beginning to create your work that something magical almost always happens. You get into it. You begin to like what you’re doing. You begin to see the possibilities once more. By some miracle, you produce something that isn’t rubbish.
At that moment, take a look in the mirror. Are you smiling now?