Beating a Slump, Staying Creative and Having Fun

Inspired by Michael’s article How To Have Ideas.

My Backstory

I’ve been getting more and more frustrated at my lack of ability at taking on a creative project and seeing it through to completion. Since Tat Fest (sorry, the Christmas Market), I’ve not really been in the mood for anything arty, nor have I found anything else worth taking on. I lose interest very quickly, I’m easily distracted, and if a task isn’t going to yield anything of any use (like, for example, an article), I have difficulty staying motivated. This affected my ability to have ideas, and participate in the site in any useful way except writing about stuff other people have created. When I read Michael’s article, it set me off thinking how I could get out of this creative slump by making sure I had a way of quickly capturing ideas and having some kind of output, so that the ideas will keep coming.

A Solution?

I decided to keep a text file, into which I would dump any ideas, flashes of inspiration, or anything else that might trigger a bit of creative activity, to be processed at a later date. Except I got stuck. Then what? What’s the point if there’s no end product? Isn’t it all just going to end up as litter? I needed to develop the idea further, but didn’t know how. And at those times when you have an issue to ponder with no sign of an answer, there’s only one thing to do – have a bath.

A Solution!

A soapy meditation brought me to the following conclusions:

  • My interests lie in three areas – art, music and writing.
  • They’re all equally important and deserve equal attention.
  • I’m still learning about all of them, so maybe they should be studied in more depth and progress recorded in a journal.

So this is what I came up with. Michael talks about tanks in his article, so the first thing I did was make folders on my PC for art, music, and writing, each with a text file, which would act as a ‘tank’. This is where ideas such as “look for Blues Brothers tab” would go. Anything that occured as a fun thing to do goes in the tank, to be looked at when it’s that topic’s turn for attention.

Take it in turns

In order to give each topic the attention it deserves, I thought the best way is to work it in a cycle of art, music, and writing. I started the day playing with watercolour pencils, so after that I played guitar for a while, and then I wrote this article. After that, I’ll do some more doodling. I haven’t set myself any rules on time, other than to move on to the next thing when a task is completed, or I’ve become bored, or my fingers hurt too much to continue.

Output

Last August, I played with the idea of having an art journal. A book where I’d store drawings, and scribble general thoughts about my artistic adventures. I’ve dug that out again with the intention of it being the home for any sketches or paintings I do that aren’t binned or given away. I have a music journal in which I write details of what guitar practice I’ve done, and I have a writing journal, which is just another sounding board for articles and other ideas. So, anything that doesn’t wind up here or on other sites, has a place to be, rather than cluttering up my space as another idea that didn’t go anywhere.

How convenient to have a role model in my own home. And I’m lucky enough to be marrying him. Hey, Michael, ‘tanks’ a bunch, luv!

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