Dealing with writer's block as an artist
Being an artist requires both input and output. I’ve always said everything is a remix of a remix - from the music you listen to, the house you live in and the clothes you wear everything is an iteration of something pre-existing. Even me and you are iterations of our ancestors.
Now the reason why I bring this up is because lately I’ve been feeling unproductive, I feel like I haven’t been outputting as much work as I’d like to. However I write this not only as a reminder to myself but to the artists at home beating themselves up because they feel like they’ve lost their momentum.
EVERYTHING IS OKAY, THIS IS PART OF THE PROCESS. DO NOT STRESS, DO NOT WORRY, BUT INSTEAD MAKE THE MOST OF THIS TIME.
From my experience creativity comes in waves, one minute you're overflowing with creativity and then suddenly you feel lost and unsure of where to take your next step. It’s easy to lose that momentum but It’s also a great time to reassess and take a moment to understand what you’re really trying to do with your work.
When faced with artists block you have two options:
- TAKE ACTION: Persevere through the uncomfort. you're probably going to be unhappy with your work as you're piecing something together. But this is likely because you've become too outcome oriented and are worrying too much about the finished product. If you decide to take action just make something no matter how good or bad it is. You don’t have to even share it with the world and I’d actually suggest not sharing it with anyone. This is to just get you back in the rhythm of finishing what you start.
- ABSORB: Become a sponge and go discover something new. For example I’m typically an avid reader but over the past few months I was struggling to find something I could really sink my teeth into. That was until I picked up my first volume of Manga just under a week ago. I’ve now almost completed the entire Chainsaw Man series in the span of a few days and have stumbled into a world of excitement. Browsing the aisles of the bookstore now sparks that wonder and excitement needed to approach any type of creative work.
NOTE: YOU ARE NOT WASTING YOUR TIME - EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED
When I’m in the absorption phase I find it easy to feel like I’m wasting my time.
I often think to myself I could be drawing or designing something instead of looking at someone else's work. However you need to understand everything is interconnected and listening to that album you just discovered or binging a new series you've fallen in love with is only adding fuel to your creative fire pit.
In this instance reading volume upon volume of Chainsaw Man isn’t just entertaining me but is giving me context to the world of Japanese storytelling. I’m unconsciously picking up on new art styles and storytelling techniques that I may or may not use down the line.
The aim of the absorption phase is to merely rediscover that feeling of joy and wonder again so much so that you feel the need to try to bring that energy into your own work.