Do you hear that sizzle? Smell smoke? That’s my brain. It’s fried. Not much going on up there all week.
The emotional and social overload from last week mixed with several days of non-stop home remodel planning has left me in a small creative drought. Because of my work as a designer I don’t really get the option of turning everything off, but luckily I haven’t had any heavy duty design challenges this week. I can crank out business card designs in my sleep.
Thankfully this isn’t a creative desert. Those are bad. I just need a short break to focus on day-to-day routines and some mindless work to get back in the groove.
So what do I do when I find myself in a drought? Strangely enough I usually find myself cooking. Those near and dear to me find this amusing. Why? I don’t really like to cook. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad cook. No one goes running to Olive Garden when I pull out a skillet. They actually come home from distant lands and ask for my cooking and I have won a chili cook-off in my time. I just do not enjoy having to feed myself or others every single day.
I have no idea why I find myself in the kitchen when the other creative outlets are blocked. Maybe it is the visual enjoyment of fresh fruit and vegetables. Maybe it is the chance to experiment with new recipes or flavors. Beats me. Most of the time I resent the fact that I have stop what I am working on to feed myself!
Another drought buster is working in the dirt. This doesn’t help much in the winter, but now that Spring is warming up and the plants need tending I am all in. My favorite? Weeding! Yes, I’m crazy, but for some reason there is an instant gratification in yanking those suckers out by the roots (I worry myself sometimes). If you find yourself in a drought brought on by some anger issues this is the best. Heck, it might keep you out of jail. I know, I know, weeding is in the same category as laundry and dishes. They just keep coming back. Tearing your clothes or breaking dishes in the throes of a meltdown is an expensive habit though. Weeding is all good. Your yard and garden look good, you have gotten a dose of vitamin D and exercise and you have extinguished some demons. Ok, you might need a manicure afterwards. Is that a bad thing?
There. I have given you a couple of options to combat creative blocks/droughts. Another is to go take a long hike. Nature cures many ailments.
But what if you find yourself in the Sahara Desert of creative blocks? I have only had a couple, but those couple actually lasted years. They are very, very bad. I feel your pain if that is where you are. You crave a creative outlet. You need to express something, but not a drop is coming out no matter how hard you squeeze. You try to move forward but produce only the blandest most pitiful work.
I have only found two solutions. Time and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. They work together. If you haven’t heard of The Artist’s Way go to Amazon and get it (no affiliate). If you do creative work and you haven’t reached a desert yet, be prepared. No, this is not a short cut out of the desert. It takes time. Most deserts are the result of serious life issues. Sometimes it is an illness, bad relationship or tragic event. Often they are a culmination of several such events at one time. You did not find yourself in the desert suddenly and you will not get out quickly.
Take the time to go through Julia’s program. It is a healing process and you need it. You will find out things about yourself you need to know. I do not recommend just waiting out the time in the desert. I’m pretty sure Julia Cameron was put on this earth to write her book for us. You don’t usually work through the issues just waiting. Often artists find themselves in a bottle of alcohol or pills when they try to wait this out.
So what am I going to do this weekend to end the drought? Tonight is some quality fire pit/grilling/nature time. Saturday we will be at my bonus daughter’s horse show most of the day with a little floor tiling prep and stall mucking time. Sunday is supposed to be raining and that calls for a Sunday afternoon nap! I should be in good shape by Monday.
I hope you have a lovely drought free week.