"Well, I'm screwed,", I think to myself, as I look outside the window of my new studio. Not even a week has passed since I officially quit my 9-to-5 job to become a full-time illustrator, and already I'm panicking. What more could I want? A view on the Hudson river, a brand new studio, more time than I could've ever dreamed of when I was working at my old job... Yet here I am, paintbrush in hand, completely, totally, and utterly terrified. As I stare at the blank paper in front of me, every single bone in my body is screaming, "STOP. You can't do this! Don't waste another piece of paper. What if it doesn't come out right? What if you spend your whole afternoon on something that isn't even worth posting on Instagram? How much did I pay for this paper again? $12,99? So for 30 sheets, that comes out at, how much per sheet? How much is left in my savings account? What if I don't get a new commission this month? Will I be able to pay rent?"
As you can imagine, this type of paranoid overthinking is not exactly the best mindset when trying to express yourself creatively. Vois ici the famously dreaded creative block. The good news, however - for all you creative types out there that are feeling as equally hopeless as I was at this point - this happens, has happened, and will continue to happen to almost every single creative person who's had to endure their creative process. And though these moments may feel like they're going to last a lifetime, fear not! They most certainly aren't. All you have to do is snap out of it. More easily said than done, I agree, but not altogether impossible.
So what do you do? Though the process differs from person to person, here are a couple of things that have helped me get back into my creative mindset.
1. GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD.
Try and get away from what frustrates you. Don't want to look at the black canvas anymore? Don't. It's just that easy. Stop obsessing over actually creating something, and focus more on what is going to get you there. In other words, focus more on finding something that inspires you. Whether that is scrolling through your Instagram or Pinterest feed, listening to music that unlocks you, or even watching a movie that gets you in the right mood.
2. GAIN SOME PERSPECTIVE
See the bigger picture. No, the world is not going to end because you didn't finish that one illustration you had set out to finish tonight. Allow yourself to bend your expectations. This does not mean you can get lazy with the tasks that you set yourself out to complete, but just know that sometimes it's okay to reevaluate your goals when necessary.
3. STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF.
As I said before, yes, setting goals for yourself and sticking to them is extremely important. However, I found that setting unrealistic goals actually creates more stress, and ends up doing more bad than good in the long run. This is because when the goals you set for yourself are unrealistically high, you're already setting yourself up to fail from the get-go. So of course you're going to feel demotivated!
4. STAY POSITIVE
So what if you don't create your best work 100% of the time? Guess what? It's okay! Try not to see it as a failure, but to see it more as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. What would I do differently? What can I improve? Also, don't forget that no matter how much you don't like the end result, you've still gained practice, which is a win in itself.
5. FREE YOUR MIND
Get out of the studio, get out of the city, go on a holiday! Whatever your time and budget allows you to do, do your best free your mind from whatever is blocking it. Having new experiences and stepping away from what gives you anxiety helps renew your energy and your attitude.
As I mentioned before, these are not golden rules for getting out of your creative funk. The process differs from person to person. But feel absolutely free to try them out! I'd love to hear how it goes! So feel free to let me know, or to ask any questions in the comment section below!
As always, thank you guys for stopping by!