Have you ever been plagued by being stuck, unable to move forward? Desperately wanting to run towards your dream but, somehow, unable to move. A ball and chain around your ankle perhaps.
There’s lots of advice and stuff (other than silly gifs) on the web to “assist” you in this quest! I’ve always believed that it’s really only me that can find a way around my ruts. But it’s very frustrated when you get stuck again and again and end up feeling like there’s a major fault somewhere that needs fixing.
“Just do it” they say. Yeah, right! Like it’s that easy! There are any number of “solutions” out there, none of which have worked very well so far.
There are so many factors that can contribute to these frustrating times that you have to be very lucky to find the right solutions for you. Our lives are so variable and different and our backgrounds just as much so. Surely “just do it” is an oversimplification. Does it come from people who miraculously don’t seem to have these problems?
Yet, at the same time it seems to be one of the keys because no matter what tiny thing you start with, it’s likely to make you feel good about what you’ve done and it might lead to more action, at least in the short term.
It worked today. I chose the mindless studio job of gessoing paper. I got into the swing of it, which led to gessoing over six old paintings canvases, leading to some interesting textures to work with.
Recently, I watched a couple of videos about this problem and creativity in general.
One of them stated that you can’t keep going with self motivation alone. It later went on to say, about one of the proposed steps, that, you won’t feel like doing it, but you just have to! Wouldn’t that take motivation? Mmmm!
The same video suggested that action changes your mood. Yes, I would agree with this. Taking action means you can cross something off your list. Or, you’ve started and it’s most likely going to be easier to keep the momentum going. You might now be excited and have completed or moved closer to completing something.
The other video was looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s ideas and habits around creativity. The ideas, while seemingly simple, point again to motivation plus consistency in habits.
The stand out item here for me was keeping a notebook and consistently using it for various things that were suggested.
So, to get started…..plan something vaguely motivational, however small, to get you started, take some action, write about and record it, make more plans in your notebook and….back to being motivated! Leonardo would be proud! Together, they all lead to action and hopefully the development of habits.
But what about the inevitable obstacle? Internal, external, emotional, physical and mental obstacles, out of our control or not. In my case, this puts me back to square one! The first video suggested planning for these obstacles.
But how?! Probably, the stronger, more long lived, the habit and the greater the importance we attach to it, the easier it will be to overcome obstacles?
For example, with respect to the “obstacle” above, I suspect most of us have been conditioned to feel better about our art time if we diligently put in some time using it, or a cousin, before starting our art! Only if it’s needed of course!
Obstacles come in a wide range of types and it all seems complicated. But really it isn’t, once you have a good think, you can try to brush aside the unhelpful thoughts and alter unhelpful habits! You have to try, then try some more and more again, because it doesn’t seem to be consistent or predictable and circumstances change. Habits take a while to change as well. Some sort of reliable method is needed and it probably needs to be your own. Not that of an internet guru, who when it all boils down to it, is just like us, but they’ve found their own way and want to spread the good word!
My advice. Find your own way folks. I’m still looking!!
I like to remember these wise words that are generally attributed to Einstein:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Here’s to momentum and bliss in art!
Subscribe here to receive fortnightly issues of “Studio News”.
Click here to find out about exhibitions I currently have work in.