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On Creative Dry Spells
So, I mentioned this on Monday, but I've been in the midst of one of those creatively-spent periods lately. It came on mostly without warning a few weeks ago – one day, I was working away on my plastic canvas tiki gods, crocheting a blanket and choosing sewing patterns for spring and summer clothes. And the next day, I was all "Meh. Crafts."
(I say "mostly without warning" because I've been burning my candle at both ends since January. A brownout was bound to happen sooner or later.)
I know these fallow periods happen to all creatives, but each time I hit one, it scares the bejeezus out of me. What if that's all there is? What if I never feel like making anything ever again?
That's all bunk, of course. To stop making things would be like stopping breathing – and I've lived through some years where I did no making, so I know there's a distinct lack of oxygen there. What actually scares me is that I don't get to know when this dry spell will be over. I prefer things I can schedule, plan for, and control.
I find that I go through a few stages when these dry spells hit. First, I resist them, pushing myself to pick up that crochet hook, or do just a little stitching, or at least make a few danged notecards. But soon I have to accept that the resulting work is as dull as my inspiration is, and set it aside.
…That's when I really go into resistance mode, and start up all kinds of ambitious new projects, as if that were all I needed to get re-invigorated. This time around, I decided to start drawing a graphic novel, make us a quilt, and fire up yet another unfinished hexie project. I usually make a lot of notes and think about what will happen when I officially start on all this stuff, but ultimately I don't do a thing.
If only this reality were as easy to achieve in real life!
…So at that point, I usually start wallowing. I watch a lot of TV, and chide myself for watching a lot of TV, and watch some more TV. And I play lots of video games. And I get crabby.
Someone quite enjoys dry spells, because there's usually more cuddle time in it for him.
… And after that part, things generally finally start looking up. Because somehow, when the wallowing and crabbiness are finished, I find myself starting to take in ideas again. Maybe I look at more books and magazines, or maybe I take more walks around downtown, or maybe I get motivated to re-organize my fabric stash. (Please, please, can I get motivated to re-org my fabric this time around?)
The day always comes, sooner or later, when I can pick my projects back up and feel the same excitement. Right now, I'm sure looking forward to that day!
What about you? How do you pass through your creative dry spells? How long do they last? Do you have any practices to help you prevent them?