One of the most frustrating experiences of being an artist is losing the ability to create something new. So many things can get in the way of our ability to see clearly what is next. Stress, worry, anxiety, busyness, depression, ect… All these things keep us from being able draw a few lines on a sketch pad, or to fire up our equipment and get going on a new project.
In other situations, something inside just kinda gives up, and falls into the pain that comes with a lack of inspiration and direction. Losing artistic vision is a hurt that whispers defeat to the soul and makes you just want to shelve all your art supplies and forget you ever tried to create in the first place.
Boredom and listlessness often follows in its wake, emptiness and a desire to fill time, to get busy, with anything that will make your feel like you are giving or creating. But it doesn’t fulfill like sitting down with an idea that you are going to get your hands into. Creating art is such a visceral and physical activity. It involves emotion, movement, sight and sound.
But when you have run out of inspiration, have lost sight of the artistic vision you had, you are feeling cheated, and like you have suffered a loss. For awhile things get rather dark, the world loses color and purpose. The things that you enjoyed don’t bring you the joy that they once did. You are left in a still, dull, and empty world.
I hate it when I get to this place, and lose the joy that doing art once brought me. I end up here way to often, and I wonder why. Am I unsatisfied? Am I just not thankful enough? Did I do something wrong to make this happen? Then it hit me, losing vision is a part of the process of creating. There is a point when enthusiasm vanishes and motivation slows to a crawl.
The question then arises, how are you going to respond when you can’t see a foot in front of you anymore? For me, I would like to hide, pull up my drawbridges and forget about it all. Yet, by completely shutting down I will not be open to when inspiration comes knocking again. On the other hand, if I try to reengage my creativity by getting really busy I am not giving it the space and time it needs to find me again.
This is what inspiration is, it is not something we can will into existence but something that we allow to come upon us. We need to give it space and time, not pushing or striving, but remaining open to its presence. Especially when our sight grows dim and we become listless and discouraged, we need to remember that this is normal. Creativity has an ebb and flow, this loss will not be permanent.
Also, remember that you are not a failure, that there is not something wrong with you if you can’t seem to find the energy to create. Don’t let the frustration become an opportunity to criticize yourself for not being able to do art. Have grace and patience with yourself, take care of the hurting places that need to be dealt with. Inspiration will alight upon you again, if you don’t give into the despair and fear that comes with a loss of vision. The greatest thing that we can hold unto is the hope that we will create again.
A QUESTION TO PONDER:
Can you find beauty in the space and time when you cannot see what comes next? Try noticing a few things every day.