Not every day is going to be a beautiful creatively harmonious day. There are going to be days when the shadows of fear and doubt will crowd your mind. Writers may have days when the ending just won’t come. A painter may not be able to figure out that last piece to complete the painting. These doubts and worries will cloud your mind and steal away the color from your creative fervor.
These days suck.
As creating people, we end up feeling miserable.
Grumpy. Agitated. Frustrated. Angry. Anxious. Vulnerable. Depressed.
Then as you attempt to keep going, the feelings get worse and begin to sink into your self. Often leaving your creative self in mourning.
There are many ways to deal with the dark moments. Almost as many ways out as there are creative people in the world. Allow me to share some of my favorites.
The first step being to acknowledge your mood. Give yourself permissions to accept that dark shadow that can haunt your mind. Once you acknowledge it, You can take your power back.
Here are some of the ways that I work through it.
1) Free Writing in a Journal
After accepting my dark cloud, I change my focus. I just pick up my journal and start writing. If I am really stuck I begin with “I am grateful for…” or “This good thing happened…”. These positive statements change my mind set. It rearranges how I am looking at my world. If this doesn’t work, it may be that I have to dump. I mean, just pour out as much as possible onto the page without caring about form. All your thoughts. No censoring. No order. Let it be as random as it needs to. Sometimes our thoughts get swirling around on top of one another and we cannot get control until we see it on the page. Once it’s out, don’t evaluate. Don’t change it. In order to to keep my power over it rather than running away, I don’t judge of I have written. I reflect and move forward.
2) Reach Out
This can be hard to do sometimes. But I have a few friends that I can contact and reach out to if I am feeling stuck. If you have have a writer’s group or other creative friends or groups that you can rely on when you are stuck, make sure you use it if necessary.
Most people can find their tribe of support, sometimes in unexpected places.
3) Art your way through It
Free art like free writing as no real structure. Throw the paints on the page. Doodle crazy swirls and loops across the page. play with watercolor or clay or play dough. The body is amazing in how it responds to our creative pursuits with positive energy. It starts pumping happy little endorphins through your brain.
These ideas are just starting points. That being said, there are moments, even days, when we need to be in the darkness: there is something real we need to mourn, something bad to tragic has happened or maybe it is just a bad day. It is ok to have these days. It is ok not to want to “cheer up”.
My concern for you, my friends, is that if you feel that you cannot move out of this place, or if it overwhelms you, that you will get lost. If you feel yourself becoming more depressed and struggling, please reach out to someone who can help you, preferably a professional. We creative people can be sensitive and lose our way in sadness or grief. Though I firmly believe that this is a natural part of life, when we get stuck here, we need help.
I would love to hear how you pull yourself out of a typical creative funk. What are some of your techniques?