I’m excited to get things rolling here at the Idea Emporium. I just started a Facebook page for the world/book, I’m growing my Instagram page to share video clips and drawings, and the book proposal and first chapter are nearing completion. Yay! I’m excited also to have you on this journey and be a part of the Idea Emporium world. This is good stuff, but then why am I having soul-crushing dreams like being naked while driving a car? Or having headaches and this overwhelming urge to live under the bed most the day like my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, Cobi Ann, and I don’t want to create? Making things takes a lot of vulnerability — you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. And creating those things takes up a lot of energy. You need to refill and renew, but creativity can be shut off for a little while. There are THINGS that can block that flow of creating, and THINGS that can keep that river flowing. So here’s my tips if you are feeling hopelessly blocked, numb, pissed off at everyone and everything because all that creative juice ain’t going anywhere. Believe me, I have been there. Like the other day…Drum roll please.
Three Things that are like Toxic Mud to Your Creative Juices & What Will Fix It:
Too much Social Media Not Enough Creating Take heed my friends! The other day I created a nasty migraine. I was staring at the phone counting my Instagram Followers. I was cursing the Unfollowers/Followers and getting caught in the nonsense game. I looked down at myself, and thought, Dear Goodness, This is my Life now? I hadn’t drawn a thing. Not one. In fact, I probably didn’t look away from that phone in two straight hours. It was my driven personality taking myself hostage. I was close to needing some kind of weekly meetings. Yes, build your audience (I’m talking to you and to myself here), but please go do what you do first! That’s the whole purpose of sharing, right? To have stuff to share? This social media thing of who gets the most followers first reminds me so much of Middle School. Let’s see who has the most friends and is popular, but God forbid, you pull out a tendon and are on crutches one day and no one is there to help you up the stairs when you need it (true story, tenth grade).
You aren’t having fun This is a biggie. Yes, work can be hard and there’s irritating things you have to do like fill out taxes and business forms, and actually leave the house and talk to other people. But there needs to be PLEASURE in what you do. It should be fun. I have a teaching philosophy called the Rubber Ducky Theory. Even the mundane like taking a bath can be fun by adding a squeaky rubber duck to the bath water. In fact, learning should be fun. We integrate more when we are enjoying ourselves. Once you aren’t having fun, it’s a big indication you are heading in the wrong direction. I’ve been reading a fabulous book on Design Thinking called Designing Your Life. There’s this exercise on Engagement and keeping a Good Time Journal (not what you are thinking, you dirty mind.) In your journal, you write about all your activities of your day rating them with how much energy that activity gave you and how engaged you were. The more engaged, the better. What a mind blower! This is your map. Letting you know what you are meant to do, where you thrive and your strengths are, and what gives you true pleasure. That’s fun, people, that’s joy. Go there, says the map. Because years from now on your death bed you are going to resent what you didn’t do (Well, that’s a downer, but you get what I mean.)
You are comparing your thighs with someone else’s thighs When I was a teenager I was perfectly happy hanging out with friends and thinking I was way more than enough. Thank goodness for women’s magazines to remind me I was not! What a service. Today’s magazines are replaced by Instagram images of perfect homes and people laughing in mid air. They are photoshopped even on their phones with editing software, and they are posed with all the right things around them. Ugh. Never mind that behind the scenes their marriage is a mess and they are addicted to sniffing glue. A form of torture for artists is to have them scroll the feeds and look at how one artist has a zillion followers even though they draw cartoons with their feet for fun. “Omg!” I cry. I don’t even draw with my feet and my drawings are good. Am I not special enough? I just compared my thighs with someone else’s thighs, symbolically of course, and decided I didn’t measure up. This exercise then cuts off my creative flow and I have zero ideas, and all I want to do is sit and watch an iZombie marathon and be grateful at least I’m not undead. You are your own kind of special, remember that. The whole snowflake analogy thing. Don’t get caught up in that nonsense that is trying to sell you perfume.
Symptoms Your Creativity is Shut Down:
- Vacation. When my hubby and I went on vacation to California a few weeks back, I filled up my notebooks with creative inspiration. It was glorious. Even day trips can help change the scenery. You need in-person inspiration to experience to fill up that well of ideas.
- Talk to good friends. They are your fans for the creative stuff you make. They love your dress design you made from socks and won’t rip it apart why it doesn’t make sense. You need to fill up with the right voices.
- Make what is important to you, important. Quickest way to creative blockdown is to try and please everyone else while creating. Everyone wants you to paint mountains, but you feel pulled to paint old tricycles caked in rust. Please paint those tricycles! In the long run, you will have the bigger success.
- Fill up with Goodness. I love looking at Pinterest or hanging out at the library. Barnes and Noble magazines also fill the well. Images love to feed the creative juices. But fair warning: don’t fall into the Comparing sandlot. Watch Spirited Away.
- Dance! Listen to music that gets you hopping. Kick up your feet and move. That gets the juices flowing the quickest and easisest.
- Let things grow in the time it needs to grow.
- Be authentic as possible. Get back to yourself. What did you used to love to do as a kid? What is your favorite interests? When’s the last time you perused the graphic novels in the bookstore or checked out the journals in the stationery store? What is most YOU?
- Read The Artist’s Way and the whole section of “the odds.”
- Go watch Embrace: The Documentary. It will snap you back into place.
- What works for you?
So, what do you think? Been blocked? Stuck in the evil muddy waters? Step away from the phone and go put on some music. Better yet, have some coffee at a funky coffee shop with murals painted on the wall. How do you know that creativity is coming right back? You will feel the flutter of ENERGY bubbling up. Until next time,
ps. Do take a look around here and have fun unleashing your creative juices. The Bakery needs cupcakes designed. Episode 1 is ready to be viewed. And join the growing book Patrons over on Patreon and shop the store with upcoming classes to support the project.