When the Creative Flow Runs into a Dam
August 9, 2011
Posted by on
I’ve been plugging away at a shoe design that isn’t going well. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it. It looks like I thought it would. I don’t know what’s not going well… I’ve just run out of steam and nothing seems like the right thing to add, although the design is quite obviously far from finished. Think “a little over a quarter of the shoe still untouched”. It’s just not going anywhere and I seem to be unable to make it go anywhere.
This doesn’t mean I’m burning out on art and need a break. Oh, no… far from it! I missed drawing during the couple of weeks I spent recovering in bed. I’m glad to get back to it! I have a list of things to do, and so many ideas I want to play with, and…
Well, there you go. That may very well be the shoe problem. I was working on the shoe design before my bedrest. It feels like it’s weighing me down and keeping me from getting caught up. I’m starting to resent it for not being finished yet. I’m ready to move on! The harder I push on the shoes, the slower progress becomes. I don’t really want to be working on the shoes anymore. I just want to be finished with them.
Very few of my deadlines are set in stone. Most of them are set by me just to keep projects organized and help me do my best to balance between my art and other daily responsibilities. I don’t have to finish the shoes right now. I can set them aside and move on to the next project. When I feel the excitement and passion for finishing the shoe design, that will be the time to go back and finish it.
When the creative flow gets to the dam, it pools and just sits there. Sometimes that’s a good thing. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the inspiration and ideas, splash around, and see what what wonderful things you can find under the surface. But sometimes it’s better to walk away and find a river of creativity that is still rushing along. You can come back to the pool later. One is not “better” than the other. It’s about what you need at the time.