You’ve probably experienced this. You’re going full tilt at your art, producing your work (often good work), but you’re running out of steam. You’re flagging. You’re enthusiasm is waning. You just don’t think you’re any good at this anymore, or even cut out for it. You can’t face the next project with as much energy as before. Your batteries feel flat. The thrill of creation has become dulled by fatigue.
How do you prevent yourself from backsliding into the oblivion of slothful neglect of your art?
If you have friends that you rely upon for encouragement, it can get you past the doldrums if you raise a red flag and ask for their help. Encouragement is like nourishment, for artists.
Of course, having some success helps (however you measure your success), but if it’s just not there, it means you’ll have to dig deep and test your character, if you want to continue to create. That can be like crawling across the desert on your stomach without water, but it often provides the most satisfaction, if you can withstand the test and come out the other end as a success, eventually.
Other solutions that can work are:
• Take time out to refresh – just abandon the studio for a few days and vegetate. Be careful not to let this become a habit, though. Even simply taking a walk might do it for you.
• Try something different for a while – try a new technique, a new medium or just try some other means of creating. If that doesn’t work, read a book about how to make your art, or some other book entirely. Do something you can do, in preference to fretting over what you think you can’t do, or worse still, doing nothing.
• Choose to do something less epic for a while – you don’t have to produce something heroic every time you make your art. Get a smaller canvas. Write a shorter song. Write an essay instead of a novel. Set your sights on a simpler work. Do something less demanding and more within your comfort zone, so that it doesn’t feel like a constant struggle against the odds.
• Get some sleep – every so often the real reason you are fatigued, while attempting your art, is simply because you need sleep. So sleep.
I hope these suggestions are helpful when you next hit the creativity wall.