|images by @kissatlv|
The winds have changed. It’s regularly negative degrees outside and it feels like the inside of my windows are frosting over every morning, but the ice shrouding the locks that have been constricting my creativity, is thawing.
It’s like being able to breathe again. The first inhale after resurfacing from riptides of confusion – or too many hours submerged in a bath that has long gone cold.
It’s like my life, for the past few months, has been a series of filler scenes. The kind you want to skip past because they don’t offer anything interesting or dramatic; there isn’t anything new. The boring, unglamorous monotony of ‘this is my today, this is my everyday’. The bits that should, really, have been left on the cutting room floor but somehow made it in because artistic license is a dangerous word pairing.
The benefit of slow is not lost on me. In an age where we’re constantly romanticising being busy in every waking moment we have, it’s important to recognise that pauses are necessary. You can’t have a book or a movie where everything is go all the time. It’s confusing. It presents an audience with hollow characters that rely on actions or circumstances to give their lives meaning. At the very base level, it’s a sign of sub-par writing.
Slowness allows growth; development. It gives a character time to consider consequences and results of their actions. It allows for deliberation and planning, as well as spontaneity, but most of all it allows for balance. A concept that I struggle with about as much as dressing appropriately for winter (which is a lot).
I don’t know when the chains first appeared, but they grew larger and stronger and sturdier as I siphoned off my creative energy and diverted it into the pool I used to function day to day. Though that diversion became more of a bypass, and it wasn’t until recently that I noticed my ‘creative reserves’ were almost dry. My ideas have been stalling at the planning stage for the last few months. I have drafts upon drafts upon drafts under and around folders worth of video clips that I have had very little idea – or motivation – of what to do with. Yet I have lists and lists in different notebooks with half-imaginings spilling between the lines.
It’s an interesting limbo to be in, and it’s taken me a few weekends of being slow to remember that you have to feed your creativity to grow it.
You have to sit down and actively nurture it.
Small things that you forget when you’re trying your damndest to keep up with everything that’s going on, trying to grow, trying to keep relationships alive trying trying trying to find that spark of something yes-this-is-wonderful-let-me-create in spending money you should probably be saving…
From experience, I know that I can recharge the proverbial batteries by throwing on some music. I’ve taught enough classes last term about the benefits of music and its effects on the brain to regurgitate it verbatim, and to also realise that having grown up with music around me, it’s obvious that music is the first place I would go to try and muster some inspiration. But recently, I’ve been needing more visual sources. More images, more words, more moving pictures, more places that help me feed the starved organ that I rely on to keep me in check a lot. I’ve also been needing to talk through ideas and concepts with people a lot more.
It’s been something that I’ve found almost vital; sharing ideas and plans and grievances around my own inabilities to create with people who do, at least, understand a little bit. I get in my head a lot, so being able to vocalise things – and not just to a team of ‘yes men’, but people who will actually tell me if an idea is shit, or overdone or needs more thought – has helped me work through kinks and bumps. It’s also really fun to bounce ideas around with other people and see what they have to say to help.
I’ve also found that, as cliche as it is, mood boards, folders full of images that inspire me, and looking at the work of others, has really kick-started the rusty wheels in my head to start turning again. Sometimes places like pinterest and instagram can be so thoroughly overwhelming, there’s so much on both platforms that is simply amazing that it’s borderline intimidating. But I think, rather than my default reaction being ‘holy crap, I can’t do anything like that’ as of late, I have started to use these visuals purely as inspiration, not as a comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy, and all.
I think it’s also really important to remember that creating something original doesn’t mean you can’t draw inspiration from something already existing. Purely, purely original ideas are few and far between – they’re rare jewels in a landscape of diamonds. Trying to find one every time you want to sit down and create causes burnout so quickly. Expecting to produce something unique, something that is 210% a-ok awesome every time, is also detrimental to creativity. For me, at least, I get so disheartened when something doesn’t come out how I wanted, then I feel like not doing anything,
and I end up in this vicious cycle.
The last thing that I’ve found has really helped me out of this inspiration slump is taking a step back, and focusing on or starting new projects. I know having a lot of things on the go sounds like a bit of a convoluted, almost counterproductive idea, but I find it really does more good. Doing anything creative isn’t a long-burning fuse; it’s a collection of sparklers with the occasional rocket for the amazing. Focusing on smaller, or newer projects that are exciting or giving you something in the way of energy can really help realign and rebalance your viewpoint on whatever you lost motivation or inspiration on. I’ve pushed through blocks before, but at a cost that I don’t feel like expending on things that are not deadline orientated, or that could end in resentment. So now, as a part of my own creative self care, I’ve decided that after weighing up whether pushing through would be beneficial, if it isn’t then it’s time to take a step back and work on something different.
I’m really trying to learn to accessorise more, I’ve actually got some things that I can wear more, now, so stay tuned for that!]
How, and where do you find inspiration? Or how do you motivate yourself in a creative slump? Let me know (pleaseeee)! Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this outfit / these photos. They’re some of my favourites that I’ve ever got back.