I was trying to continue painting today when I felt something lacking. I thought I could use brute force and perseverance to fill the void but it did not last long.
Motivation was not present.
My lack of progression with the current artwork inspired me to write this blog post - how to be creative when you are unmotivated. Maintaining the desire to paint is an art form in itself.
The first matter to accept is that if a lack of motivation or creative block strikes, you can’t fight against it. The feeling is like swimming against the current, you can try all you like but in the end, you will lose.
It is best to let acceptance wash over you at this point. Take a step back, and find something else to do, something completely different, or do nothing at all. Motivation comes and goes, and is hardly ever consistent. Ensuring you take regular breaks will in the long-term minimise downtime.
Creativity or ‘flow’ can strike at any time of day, sometimes I can go a whole day without the urge to produce something, and then after dark, when all but the night owls and London foxes have gone to bed, the spark ignites.
Suddenly every solution to a problem becomes clearer, the desire to put paintbrush to canvas becomes strong.
And sometimes the exact opposite can happen.
Creative work is subjective, and so is the urge to take action. Productive time spent cannot be channeled into a 9-5 time period like lots of other work. Motivation must be accepted when it strikes, as the moment we are inspired is when we create our greatest work
When I’m struggling with any kind of creative block, I have found that novelty is the perfect way to reset and restart things. If we stick within our comfort zones and our habits, we become bored, easily distracted, and susceptible to procrastination. Getting out of the house and finding a new space, or choosing to do something brand new can really ignite new motivation.
Sometimes it can be just going to a cafe to work, maybe going on a walk. Even cooking a meal I’ve never tried before can be enough to get productivity going again.
In the end, creative motivation is an art form in itself. It cannot be controlled with the flick of a switch. It needs to be nurtured and encouraged. Put yourself in the right environment and inspiration will arrive.
Joseph Cashmore - ART JC
25th Feb 2023
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