Wednesday, November 9, 2022

What really is a creative block ?

We are so used to always doing, and achieving,  that anytime there is a pause in our lives we do not know how to react. As a child, I was always driven by action because that is what I was told, "do not waste your time."  If you are not 'doing' something it was assumed you are wasting time, daydreaming was never really encouraged.  A full schedule is equated to being productive... it reminds me of a hamster wheel. Fast forward to my present-day life, I am not guilty of sitting in my studio doing nothing and waiting for the world to go by. This is special because when we sit doing nothing ( we think it is nothing)....the seeds of a creative idea are planted.  If one can sit still for long enough,  the idea will sprout. But we never give ourselves that chance.  

In social media or real life, everyone is in a rush, we hurry ...what if we take a moment to pause. The buds take time to bloom, and so does the seed, it takes time to sprout. For me, creative block is a needed pause to clear my mind from the clutter of doing, and from there, something exceptional will emerge. If you have a creative seed in you, it will sprout. You have to give the right environment for it. 

What do I mean by the right environment? In my workshop, I usually see a lot of students start out with disappointments, the burden of expectation is so heavy that they drown their creativity in it. " I am not getting it", "my images are terrible", "no one is going to like my images" ...and so on. I always have one question to ask...did you enjoy taking the pictures. Rome was not built in a day, it takes time to hone your skills. The only true yardstick for success and growth is - are you enjoying what you are doing without judging the outcome? If yes you are on the right path. We burden ourselves with ownership and outcome. If you release that, maybe you will release your creative block. The very word block blocks us ...what if we called it a creative pause instead.

So if you are having a creative lull, maybe a walk outdoors may help. Nature has never failed to inspire. But before you start assuming you are in a block, give yourself a few days or even weeks. 

The right environment is recognition, appreciation, and enjoyment...Start asking yourself - am I  having fun. So, if you are shooting spices and you are not enjoying them, drop them. Go for a walk, and take your camera. Or take some paints and play with them. Find something that gives you pleasure. Go from there. Be, gentle with yourself, self-encouragement is really important, it is a mindset and it really helps one grow. 

The pause should not be confused with laziness and procrastination. I even question laziness I just lazy or am I exhausted at some level and need that break. Only we can sit with what comes from us and we just have to be brutally honest with ourselves. 

This is what works for me, I try not to judge myself ( it is always a work in progress), we are always learning. What really matters is how much fun I am having, I want to be like a child...

So in conclusion I would just say that I do not think there is anything called a block. A pause may be, and for all, you know it may be filled with creative juiciness... just wait and see what unfolds. Remember gentleness and do not forget to have fun. 

A lot of times my students tell me that my prescription is so difficult, it is so hard as adults to have fun and to be light without getting weighed down by the outcome. My dream is to have a workshop in a beautiful natural sanctuary where one whole day is devoted to just using paints and creating fun. When we say creating art, we instantly have an expectation of something spectacular. The mornings are spent watching the sun-rise...where we pick our camera without judgment and we paint with our lens. When we create from that relaxed energy, it shows, appreciation happens as a by-product. When that shift happens, you will no longer be bothered about recognition because you would have had so much fun that you will not care about the outcome. Like photography, this mindset is a work in progress. It is a beautiful place to be. I cannot say I am there yet, but I am surely on that path and it is liberating. 

I would love to know your views on creativity, block, muse, and what is your journey like?

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