In that amount of time, I've read many, many articles offering advice to aspiring creationists on how to stay productive, stay creative, generate ideas, and so forth. Some of it's good or even great advice. Some? Not so much. However, the directive I dislike the most is also one of the ones I see popping up with the most consistency. "Force yourself to create on a regular basis. Do it every day whether you feel like it or not. That's the key to lasting success."
Now, I'm hardly knocking productivity or consistency. I'm a big fan of them both and I strive to embody both to the greatest extent possible. I've just never thought of art as something that could successfully be forced into the world, kicking and screaming. Believe me when I say I've tried it. I feel that it shows quite obviously when I've done something just for the sake of being able to say I'm staying productive, as opposed to when I've done it in a frenzy of true, unbridled inspiration. I like my inspired pieces, but I can't say the same for the ones that had to be strong-armed into existence every step of the way.
Creativity ebbs and flows for many reasons and I truly believe that unless we're talking about something you're doing for a client that has a deadline attached, you're only shooting yourself in the foot if you try to make yourself create when you don't really want to. At best, you'll wind up creating something that... well... kind of sucks and lacks any kind of a soul. At worst, you could eventually find yourself hating the act of creation and seeing it as a chore to be avoided at all costs. Art should never be that, in my opinion. It should be a haven you feel like you can run to when you have something to say that can't quite be expressed in any other way. If it feels any other way, you're doing it wrong... seriously.
I've had periods in my life during which I was very creative. Downright prolific, even. During those periods, I might have created a new piece of visual art -- or even two -- from start to finish every day. I'd be the same in regards to my writing. I remember times when I was actually writing and posting so much new material each day that I was worried about my readers getting tired of hearing from me, even if the material was really substantial and inspired.
Then there have been periods of dormancy where I never once felt moved to paint or write a thing. It wasn't for lack of good ideas, because I get those constantly. It was for lack of comfort, freedom or security in my life. For that reason, I've learned to use the intensity of my own creative drive as a means to assess the truth of how I really feel about a given situation, because the thing is... I can lie to myself. However, I can't lie to my creativity. The more creative and on fire for the actual act of sitting down and pouring my soul into my art I feel, the happier and better adjusted I find I really am at a given time. On the other hand, if I have to force myself? Something's not right at the Circle K and sooner or later, I will have to think about knocking down a few walls.
I don't really care to discuss my current living situation in depth as far as this particular blog goes. This is a place for me to talk about art, writing, the creative process, and so forth -- not my family drama or personal problems. However, suffice it to say that my current situation is.... insufficient. I haven't created a new piece of artwork or completed a new piece of creative writing in a very, very long time and as I said above, that's indicative of a very bad fit and a strong need to change the scenery to something more apt to nurture a creative spirit like mine. My fiancé and I are doing just that very, very soon and I am excitedly looking forward to it and all that it could mean for my drive to create.
I've been productive professionally for sure, but I haven't taken much time to explore my personal creativity in a long, long while. I've been feeling some artistic stirrings as my life moves into its next phase though, hence the opening of this blog despite the fact that I'm not actively painting, drawing or writing creatively right now. That's going to change very soon and I'm truly excited about the shift I feel coming within the next few weeks as far as my output goes. It's in the air for sure. Can you feel it?