WorkroomSarah H

Creative ebb and flow

WorkroomSarah H
Creative ebb and flow

As a creative type, I sometimes find it difficult to get inspired or motivated. I suspect many of us get the blahs from time to time; perhaps that's down to being tired or mentally drained (that 'too many tabs open' feeling). These episodes can last a few days or even a few weeks. So what to do?

There are a few things which work for me. Number one would have to be walking outdoors, alone. It doesn't matter if that's a long ramble into the wilds or simply a wander around the village. I always, always come home with a head full of ideas. Interestingly though, these are exclusively for my writing. Little phrases or notions perhaps. Or a tiny seedling of an idea for an article which then grows and sprouts branches and leaves and fruit.

I'm actually at a bit of a crossroads with my personal blog. It's been going for almost five years now and much as I love the journalling aspect of it and capturing memories of family life and the places we've been... well, I'm thinking of taking it in a completely new direction. More on paper than online.

So, finding inspiration and jump-starting the artistic urge. What helps when I'm in the creative doldrums? When I know I should be making (that nagging feeling being a true passion-killer in itself) but I just can't seem to get going?

Looking at art. Either visiting a gallery or studio (rarely for me - and I must remedy that). Or reading books. Although again, my wish list is far bigger than my book-buying budget. Because the most beautiful books with equally beautiful photography tend to be expensive. Of course, I do spend time scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram. Nothing wrong with that; it's actually quite efficient in that you can tailor feeds to perfectly match your tastes and interests. *Feels rather pleased with that justification*

I'm lucky to have some very talented friends. We often visit each other's houses (an inspiration in itself) and share plans and news. Other people know more people, they're aware of what's going on nearby and they're great for suggesting new ideas. One of my friends is very much into the mid-century aesthetic, whilst another is a portrait photographer with a beautiful old kitchen where we can sit and eat cake and talk creativity. 

Different 'disciplines' can cross over and sometimes it helps to get input from a completely new perspective.

I also find that, when Joe's at home, I suddenly think up lots of projects which I'm itching to start. I can see how people with a lot of time on their hands can sometimes feel a bit lost and rudderless. There's nothing like entertaining and caring for young children to make you focus. A quiet cup of tea feels like an achievement, so an hour or two of printmaking just isn't an option.

Which, of course, makes that printmaking session seem all the more desirable.

During the summer holidays Joe and I will be out adventuring and exploring. I'll take photographs and note down ideas, and then use the evenings wisely. Who knows, perhaps I'll be more efficient with managing my time and become extremely productive. Perhaps not. It really doesn't matter too much. 

I know that, as a creative, I need to write and draw and paint. It keeps me sane. So I'll just go with the ebb and flow of inspiration and output. And to stay inspired and curious I'll make sure we discover lots of beautiful things to look at and talk about. Leaves and flowers, trees and pebbles in the stream, insects and feathers. Walks on the moors and in the woods. We'll read lots of charmingly-illustrated books and visit galleries together, make wax rubbings and paintings.

Come September I'll be refreshed and ready to start a new maker's year. September has always been my 'new start' month (January, on the other hand, is all about hibernation). 

And so it goes. The seasons change. My moods shift with them. I take inspiration from nature and the turning of the wheel of the year. Perhaps there's a little bit of modern Paganism in that; no bad thing in a fast-moving world. We all somehow crave that connection to nature and simplicity. For me, it's what fuels my work and passion for it. And just like that turning wheel, the urge to write and make always comes back around.