Every artist has been there at some point. We get on a huge creative kick, start painting, everything’s going amazing, and then BOOM. One day, all the creative energy is just…gone. Poof, it’s like the essence of your entire work has left the building, the area, the planet. You go through the usual emotions: despair, anxiety, denial, pleading, desperation, and finally, resignation. You just can’t find your mojo, and you don’t know how to get it back.
What do we see when we look at someone’s art? We see their adventure. Their zest for life. Their verve. Their raison d’etre (reason for being). It’s that which inspires us as artists. It’s that which inspires viewers to purchase artwork. So when your inspiration isn’t there, it’s difficult to create. Do not despair, friends! There are ways to gain back your creativity.
It Can Happen to Anyone
Good news: you are not alone. Creative lulls happen to every artist at some point or another. That may not be the most comforting thing to hear, but there is strength in numbers, and just knowing that this has probably happened to your peers, your teachers, your mentors, and artists throughout history has to be of some consolation.
What to do when you feel uninspired?
When you reach the inevitable point of no return, or no inspiration, or lack of creativity, it’s time to take drastic measures. After all, this is serious business. Not only does it affect your bottom line if your artistic productivity contributes to your livelihood, because then you’re looking at being broke and starving, and who wants to be a walking cliché a.k.a. the starving artist? Not you. It can also really bring you down mentally and emotionally. If your sole purpose in life isn’t being an artist this is still a serious issue because it tends to bleed into every other aspect of life. When your creative mojo is gone, your LIFE mojo usually disappears right along with it. So, what does one do in times of serious creative downturns? One switches gears.
Making small, simple changes to your daily habits, such as what time you get up, what you eat for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner—hey, not everyone adheres to the 9-5 schedule Monday through Friday!) the music you listen to, the way you wear your hair, just about anything you have the power to change immediately, can help you change your energy and get your creativity back. Try one small change a day and see what happens. You may find that just by switching up your playlist or adding a new artist that your mindset completely becomes darker or brighter, increasing creativity in your brain. Maybe you work out several times a week. Could it be time to run a new trail or find a new hiking partner and check out a different state park? Hate to sound cheesy, but your mojo could be hiding from you in the woods just to get you into the wilderness on your next adventure.
Getting Over It When You Hit a Wall
“You should try and recalibrate the universe with its opposite.” --Modern Love, S1E8.
The upset or emotional upheaval a creative lull can cause is not easy to counteract, but it can be done. What’s the best way to get over the upset? Acknowledge it, bless it with some positive energy, and release it. Perhaps your creative lull was caused by some turmoil in your life, and you’re upset about that. Again, acknowledging that turmoil and stress, recognizing it in a positive way such as appreciating the opportunity it gave you to grow in some way, and letting it go means you can move on and get back to what DOES inspire you.
Channeling New, Positive Energy
It can be a struggle to find and channel new, positive energy into your artwork. Find the new. The bright, shiny, new. Remember back to the first time you fell in love. Your first date, your first love, the feeling you felt the first time you went out with your new group of friends or the first piece of art you made and hung on your wall or displayed someplace. The first time you danced in public. The first time you did anything that brought you intense joy. When you sort back through your memories and find the things that brought you joy, you can use that energy and intensity by channeling it into creating something beautiful. If inspiration isn’t coming from the world around you, create your own by digging deep within yourself. Your mojo is still in there…sometimes it just takes a little extra work to find it.