For the past couple of weeks, I've been experiencing what I can only describe as a horrendous creative block. To an artist, it does feel like a disease, and if you come across someone with it, the symptoms most likely manifest as frustration, sadness, depression, and desperation.
Sounds dramatic? Yes, we can get a bit dramatic when it feels like our creativity has been sucked out of us! I'll admit that I experienced all of those things, and completely let it get the better of me for a while. All the evil voices in my head began to arise, and for a good few days, I felt like a complete and utter failure!
I'd like to reassure you that my creative block is in remission, and I'm slowly getting my creativity back again *cheers of joy!!*
But what if you're in a creative block RIGHT NOW? What can you do?
Everyone has different ways of coping, but here is what worked for me.
1. Take some time off
I find this incredibly hard, because I feel such guilt when I'm not at my desk working, or out shooting, but I had to physically force myself to take a step back for a couple of days. I spent a lot of time reading, getting outside (I even went for a run in the pooring rain), talking to friends and family, and writing in my journals. Taking time away from your usual routine will give your brain a rest, and hopefully give you a new perspective on things!
2. Look at inspiration in unlikely places
As a photographer, there is a strong inclination to want to look at OTHER photographers for inspiration. This can help sometimes, but most of the time I actually find it to be quite detrimental. It just leads to comparison for me, most of the time, and further self doubt, which buries me deeper in creative block. So look for inspiration in anything OTHER than your creative medium. If you're a graphic designer, look away from the design blogs. If you're a painter, look away from paintings. You get the idea. Instead, look at other forms of art. I have recently found to be really inspired by paintings (you can see my "Art" Pinterest board here to get an idea).
3. Focus on other areas of your business
The crazy reality of being a creative business owner is that not ALL of your work life is creative. A lot of it can be admin, financial, or marketing related. So if you're creativity has gone on it's holibobs for a few days, leave it be and focus on other areas of your business that need attention. Update your books (boring I know, but necessary!), work on your marketing plan, or write those emails to the people you've been meaning to write to for weeks.
4. Talk About It
There's nothing worse than suffering in silence, so grab your closest friends, and tell them how you're feeling. Friends are there for these reasons, and if you can't talk to them about hard times you're experiencing, what's the point in having them? Head out for a walk, tell them what's worrying you, ask for advice, and I guarantee you'll go home feeling less frustrated, and much calmer about your situation.
5. Produce something with no strings attached
This is probably the hardest solution to creative block, because it does involve forcing it out of you in some way, but it's worked for me plenty of times. The key though, is to produce your art with NO PRESSURE. Literally, just create something you love, that feels good to you, with no strings attached. If it sucks, it doesn't matter. If it's amazing, you'll be thrilled.
That's exactly what these images of Ione were; I was knew that if I headed out at sunset, with my beautiful friend, to a beautiful location, with pretty dresses... it would happen naturally. Make it easy for yourself, and you'll realise that your creativity hasn't really gone at all!