Do you suffer from creative block and/or related anxiety?

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent van Gogh

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our personal or professional lives. When our creative energy fizzles up and the clouds of self-doubt, panic and depression descend, the vicious cycle of creative block can become overwhelming.

I’m a firm believer that everyone is capable of being creative (beyond the obvious vocations such as artists, writers, musicans) such as mathmaticians finding the theory of color, or professionals having to pitch ideas in business meetings. 

For creatives working in all mediums, their work is often an integral -and perhaps even a defining- piece of their identity. Their art directly correlates to how they express themselves and interpret the world around them, so when the ideas stop flowing, it is unsurprising that it can often be related to an individual’s state of wellbeing and self-worth.

I’m interested in your experiences, both negative and positive: how you did/didn’t deal with your struggles in the face of adversity (going through/not going through stages such as procrastination, denial, fear, optimism, etc). Most especially, I’d love to hear from those willing to part with any tips or advice for those in similar positions, as a means to help overcome or avoid such situations, and get the creative juices flowing once more.

I will be collecting in submissions over the next month, and I hope to include the best anecdotes within a small self-help style pamphlet, for an non-commercial art college project.

All are welcome to submit regardless of age, country or occupation. Submission requires a paragraph or two of your experience, although more unusual forms of entries on the subject (such as poems, lists, charts, comics, photographs etc) are also encouraged. Your entry will be accredited to your name, and you will be contacted if it is chosen for the final draft. Submit here, or by email: xsweetvisagex@gmail.com.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to hearing your stories!

xThe Book Arts Girl

191

Throughout my life I have struggled with my weight. A few months back I decided to try weight loss again and a few weeks ago I set a beginning goal of 180 lbs. To help me document this transition I am going to shoot a self portrait every time I reach a weight that a photographer has shot me in the past. Currently at 191 lbs, I am 1 lb away from creating that first image. 


Does it make any sense that I'm in Digital Graphic Design, but I'm not so "artsy"?
Don’t get me wrong, I love art. I believe art is what makes the world go round. Without art… I don’t know, man. It’d be pretty colorless and not so… uh, exciting?

The people I work with in my DGD class are amazing artist, some WAY better than others. Like, there are some people who literally blow my mind with every piece of artwork they do. And then there are others who flat out suck at drawing and making art on the computer. I wonder how those people made it into DGD in the first place. I really don’t see any potential for them.

Anyways, back to what I was saying… I’m not as creative as I once was. Like, compared to 8th grade, I was constantly writing lyrics and short stories and drawing almost anything I laid my eyes on. My artwork did kind of suck back then but at least I attempted to get better, ya know? I always either had a sketch pad or notebook with me constantly in case anything popped into my head. Looking back, I was so proud of myself. I really was.

Nowadays, I don’t bother sketching or writing. I haven’t written anything since the 8th grade and I barely sketch besides the assigned sketches we have to do for DGD. I don’t take pictures that much anymore because I have no money to buy a memory card and whenever I do have the money to, I spend it on something else. I’m constantly on Tumblr and Facebook, in my room, with hardly any human contact besides texts from some friends and my boyfriend. The only person who I consider hanging out with anymore is John. Isn’t that sad?

The creativity got sucked out of me so bad. I have no inspirations anymore or motivation to go out into the world and see what’s around me. I’m such a lazy person, I swear.
The creativity of blank space

As an artist, I am inspired by the things around me. The colors, sounds and smells of life constantly swirl around like satellites broadcasting their intentions. However there comes a point when I have to take all the thoughts and ideas and throw them away to start fresh.  I become bogged down with so many ideas that I get lost in a sea of inspiration.  It’s strange. There are so many people who wish they didn’t suffer from an artistic block and about once a year I end up begging for one. I guess things would be different if I could photograph my ideas as quickly as they come into my mind but the truth is vastly different. Of the thousands of ideas that I come up with I normally only focus on half a dozen or so a year; the rest are just cast to side with an unknown fate. Even then, with such a few ideas committed too, I still feel overwhelmed. The ideas and themes that I choose to work with are so deeply connected to who I am at the moment that I obsess over the each idea within myself. To do that, I end up taking a break from the world that inspires me so. I detach from my camera and notebooks. I break away from the people and things that connect to me and I take a literal step back from everything. I become an island. I imagine myself alone in a room of bright white surrounded by nothing but music. Being there in that moment is so freeing. I find myself. I flush the craziness of the world away and all my ideas and thoughts dance around me like leaves falling off a tree in Autumn. They swirl around to the sound of music as they fall away until my chosen ideas are all that are left. Then like a computer program, my future photographs build themselves in front of me. My white room becomes the idea. I see, hear and feel the shot. Like ribbons my emotions connect me to each aspect within the frame. As I experience them, I ask myself if what I am feeling is true. Is this image who I am or what I feel? Is this image what I really see when I think of these things?  Sometimes this goes on for a few hours other times it goes on for weeks. I take these ideas and destroy them, break them apart until I get to the core and insure that what I find there is myself. I need to be at peace. I feel I can not backup my work, that I can not defend my vision otherwise.  Once I get to this place, once I feel at peace with the direction of my work, I come back to the world. I turn on my tv and engage on social media. I call my friends and write my far off loved ones. I write down my ideas and commit to the future images I am going to create. And then, feeling refreshed and renewed, I go back into the world to do it all over again.

Until next time - A

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