I have been thinking about creative highs as of late. If you’re a creative, you know what I’m talking about. It’s those days when you have a vision to create something, and have to start it NOW. You get to it and are in the zone, time stops, and your creative juices flow so perfectly that your project just seems to come into being. There is no struggle, there is no headache, there is no creative block. You just create and when you’re done, it works. I haven’t had any major successes since I randomly decided to design my Etsy shop website that I was so sure I was going to code right away (but, newsflash, I didn’t…cue this space here for the time-being). On the fiber end, my last success was creating the slouchy hats with bulky yarn, I just went and, tada, it was done.
But back to those amazing times, the times when everything just works. As of late, those minutes, hours, of creative bliss just haven’t come. I’m not in a rut, so to speak, but I am most certainly starting my slippery descent down a mountain that has very few footholds. If I don’t find one soon, I might just slide into the depths. Yet this feeling has caused me to think, what is really causing me to slip? Is it my lack of drive, is it stress, is it loneliness, is it lack of creative stimulation? It’s hard to tell, but in the end, it’s all and none of these things.
I’ll start by addressing stress. On the graphic design side of my life, there have been a few pieces that became just draining. I wasted time on them, and neither me nor my client/boss were happy with the result. There was a unnecessary time crunch and bad feelings all around. Recipe for success…well maybe failure. This is the first time I have ever actually hated a project (and yes, the strong word is needed). It’s frustrating and draining. Cue next part.
Friends. I love my friends, and this is the first time in my life that I have actually spent time with them, the first time I get out of the house almost weekly and go out to eat, or go bowling, or go to a friend’s apartment for board game night (and no, don’t read into that, it’s exactly as it sounds. I don’t drink, not that I’m against it, I just typically don’t like the taste of anything and it’s expensive). I had never really done this, and i love it. I get to talk with fellow artists, my friends about everything. But that’s the problem…i had never done this. I’m getting used to it, but until I get more into it, it can be just plain exhausting. Granted my part-time job at a grocery store is forcing me to interact with waaayyy more people than I’m used to, getting together with friends is amazing, but it takes my energy. I like to whole up in my house with my pooch, podcasts, my computer, and my fiber. Quiet, alone, simple. I’m changing my lifestyle and my nonexistent social life is starting to exist. It can be draining, but good.
Loneliness, well that can be self-explanatory. But wait, you say you have started getting together with friends? That cant’ be right? It’s a different kind of lonely. It’s the kind that makes you think, did I do that right? What if I screw up and no one will talk to me. It’s purely self-doubt. I think everyone battles with that at some point, or often, and I find that I’m on the often end of the spectrum. My friends think I’m outgoing at times, that I can get away saying everything no matter how blunt and people will still laugh. Yes, sometimes this is true (thanks Dad for all you taught me) but it can also be exhausting. It’s a way to hide how embarrassed or self-conscious I am. I’m a klutz, and can be an idiot as much as everyone else. I laugh it off in public to save myself but never doubt that sometimes it means crying at home at night after I really blew it. All these feelings have a place, but if they start to overcome everything else, i start to slide further down my slope.
Lack of stimulation? I doubt that that is the cause, as I live on Pinterest, and in vacation land that is the UP. Or is it? Getting out more helps, but I always slide back into my routine and routine can drain your ideas just as much as it can give them. Routine can let your mind wander, but when your mind wanders to a place that tells you you need change, then it’s time to do just that. I am making changes, especially to create a social-life and a career, and all these things come into a giant UNKNOWN. It can be amazing but in mass quantities it won’t even let you slide off that slope. It pushes you off the mountain.
Maybe I need to be pushed off the mountain and forced to do something so different I won’t even know where to start. Maybe my creativity is there, in that crevice that I am so afraid to enter. But maybe, the adventure is just beginning. I’m not going to school next week, I graduated. I can create my own path, there is no one telling me I have to finish something, or start something to create my life. I’m here creating my life as I go. Perhaps that realization is all I need to bring my creativity back.