What do you do when you’re in a creative rut and can’t seem to get out?
Running a business that relies solely on your creative output can mean days and nights of either pacing or banging your head against the wall trying to catch some wave of inspiration that’ll wash over you, sending you thrashing into a pool of imaginative ecstasy.
However…. at some point you’ve realized that Calliope can get a bit busy sometimes, and she doesn’t always come when we need her most. Artists have been known to find inspiration in just about anything, with the most common suggestions for finding inspiration including the following:
· Engaging in a social activity to let art imitate life
· Mindless activities (i.e. driving, walking, cleaning the house)
· Referencing the works of others for new ideas
· Reading a new book
These are all great suggestions-but one suggestion that I feel doesn’t receive the recognition that it should is simply going back to the basics.
Surely most creatives have probably come to conclude that art’s boundless reach means that there’s always another dimension in which you can dive, but it seems that sometimes we’ll pressure ourselves to drive our craft forward in some way (perhaps to keep up with new trends or to appeal to larger audiences), which can unknowingly create an artistic block that leaves us staring blankly at an empty canvas…figuratively speaking.
Going back to the basics means taking that trip down memory lane and thinking about why you chose your craft, what was it that inspired you?
It means taking a look at your own past works and remembering how you felt when you made them. Lastly, it includes revisiting your old processes and tools for creating and dusting them off. Technology’s hand in creative methods has definitely pushed our culture forward, but let us not forget some of the old-fashioned ways of doing things, as they can remind us of just how far we’ve come.
Consider centuries ago when there was no internet, or magazines to read at bus stops…or Candy Crush games to play. Artists had no choice but to work with what they had, which kick-started their ingenuity, allowing them to produce some of the most renown artistic works of today.
Try going back to the basics on your next project. For example, instead of using digital recording instruments on your album, try putting together a trio or quartet. Or, if you’ve come to utilize graphic design software exclusively, consider free-handing your next illustration.
Making things simple again can open up a door of new beginnings.