I’ve been struggling for weeks with a new piece in process on my design wall. That sounds a bit overly dramatic perhaps but when I hit this indecisive stage, it feels frustrating, discouraging, hopeless and never ending.
An internal negative narrative throws a pity party:
“I really have no idea what I’m doing.”
“(name of respected artist friend) will think this is stupid.”
“I did have some good ideas once but that well is dry.”
“I’m just rehashing old ideas.”
“I’m not really an artist.”
When I’m in this pathetic state, it’s reflected in what I’m trying to create. So I get stuck in a cycle:
1. Arising through that unsure-worried-about-what-others-will-think filter, an idea comes to mind and this idea has the whiff of desperation. (Nothing good follows from this -EVER)
2. But I think, ‘Eureka,this just might work!!!”
3. I throw up fabric on my design wall and sketch, frantically hoping some combo will jump out as “The One”.
4. It doesn’t. My award winning internal critic makes sure of that.
5. Rinse and repeat.
And then in some oddball moment (middle of the night, in the shower, sweeping the floor…), the solution/direction/choice bubbles up from that place of magic and inspiration and authenticity. And-kapowee!- I know it and feel it viscerally. “This really is “The One”!
And then it’s a JOY to move forward! I’m excited and I’m driven and I’m happy. Maybe making art is all about chasing this elusive feeling.
So how does this shift (and (so far!) at some point it DOES shift)? How do I suddenly feel reconnected with what it is I want to be making? Boy, I wish I knew! Taking a break from a piece helps. Meditating helps. Looking back through old sketchbooks helps. Looking at other art helps.
Sometimes remembering the original tiny seed of an idea that got me to start the piece helps. That seed usually came from an authentic place.
What helps you when you’re stuck?