If you’re anything like me, you can find it really tricky to get artistically motivated at this time of year (well, unless you count crafting salt-dough tree decorations with your six year old nephew or getting creative with the mixers).
As a freelancer or creative professional, hitting the wall can be seriously detrimental to your festive budget.
I don’t know what it is about winter, maybe its the dread of the chilly air outside of the duvet, maybe it’s the prospect of the unavoidable family christmas party where, once again, uncle Terry proceeds to talk you through all of his progressively saggier tattoos. Who knows?
Whatever the reason, I have several well practiced and triumphant block breaking methods which are sure to get you out of that rut, and into your studio.
Dragging yourself out of your cosy duvet cocoon
There is a moment as you release that first sacrificial limb into the Arctic Tundra that is now your bedroom, where you think to yourself ‘I could just stay here all day, its warm, I’m comfy; my clients can wait…’ You start to convince yourself that you’re ‘almost definitely coming down with something’ or that ‘you’ve worked so hard that surely you deserve a personal day?!’ This is delusional madness, and it must be ignored.
I am a sucker for freshly made coffee, and I confess I do get a little excited over an exceptionally made brew. So I make sure I have my favourite coffee available at all times. The process of making it is almost as effective in waking my brain up as the silky brown liquid itself, and the taste is definitely worth dragging myself out of bed for.
For you, it might be something completely different, like crunchy peanut butter smoothed over a nice warm piece of toast or perhaps your’e healthier than me and love freshly squeezed orange juice over some chunky ice-cubes. Whatever your breakfast favourite is – make sure you have it! It will change your attitude to early mornings to the point where you may even end up looking forward to them!
Stop Frying Your Brain
Step away from all of your gadgets and gizmos for the day – thats right, no emails, no phone calls and DEFINITELY no social media. Not even to instagram the most velvety smooth cup of java this world has ever seen. Give your mind and eyes a rest.
At the start of any project or creative process, it is so important to simply get rid of the world around you so you can start to create your own. This process will become more and more natural to you over time, but at first it will be a bit cold turkey.
Sometimes you just need to shut something out, to let something in.
Listen To Music
I know this point sounds a little contradictory as I have just advised to try and shut out outside distractions, but music actually stimulates creativity.
Put on your favourite record and let it inspire you.
I am a huge fan of creating personal playlists, mood dependent, project dependent. I have creative playlists which range from Mozart to Run DMC, Bob Dylan to Cyrus Hill. If you hear something that makes you get into your artistic groove, make a mental note or add it to your playlist for later. You never know, it may just get you out of a rut one day!
Do something different
If you’re really struggling to find your groove, the best advice I can give you is to just do something that has absolutely nothing to do with your project/artistic discipline/subject.
It could be anything from the washing up, a trip to the shops, a visit with friends or even some exercise. As soon as you get out of your head space you will be able to re-approach your work with new thoughts and ideas. You never know where you will find inspiration, but I can guarantee it won’t be staring into space at your desk.
Go steal some ideas
When I say ‘steal ideas’ I mean have a little creative jaunt around some galleries/exhibitions. It goes hand in hand with my above point really, and looking at fellow artists/photgraphers/illustrators work can will almost certainly reignite you arty spark.
You don’t have to fork out for a day trip to all your favourite London galleries either (I like The V&A personally). There are always creatives trying to put on something spectacular somewhere, have a peek in your local newspaper or online for events and shows near you. There will always be new and interesting people to meet and network with, even if the exhibitions aren’t up your street.