Note: this is an older post I wrote, but it's still relevant so I'm putting it back on the site. And writers? Don't skip it because it looks like it's meant for other types of artists. It applies to you, too! I'll add a little note at the end of the post specifically for writers, but all of this is for all of us.
This week, I'm feeling sluggish and stressed and not very creative at all.Â I am definitely in the doldrums.
I know we're not always at the top of our game, energetic and inspired and ready to be geniuses, but this is still a hard place to be.Â I think somewhere in my mind is a voice telling me that this isn't supposed to happen to me.Â I'm the teacher, the coach, the one who helps others out of these tight spots. I'm not supposed to get into them myself, right? Ha!
Of course, we can optimize things so that we have more regular bouts of uber creativity (I'm working on how to make that happen) with fewer slumps, but sometimes you're tired.Â Â You're a little under the weather, you're frazzled and harried and don't quite have what you need to take on a full blown creative project.Â But you still want to keep your hand in the game and do *something* creative, make something, do something.Â If you're like me, that process of just taking a bit of time to make something small or simple really helps me feel better.Â Sometimes I really need to make something to get back in the flow, but at the same time I just don't have the energy and oomph I need to figure out what project to start on.
So what can we do when we don't have the energy for a major project but we still want to do something creative?Â Prep work.Â Wait!Â Don't turn off the screen just yet.Â Prep work isn't a bad thing at all.Â We need to do it.Â The Prep Work Fairy is *not* coming over to do it for us (she called and told me she isn't).Â And prep work doesn't require us to be at the top of our game, so it's perfect for the doldrum days.Â Plus, if the prep work is done when you *are* fired up and ready to go, you don't have to use your precious, high octane creative energy on the tasks that don't need it.
What are some of the things you can do for prep work?Â Of course that depends on your art form or forms, but here are some ideas:
- Paint and/or stamp backgrounds for art journal pages or collages
- Wind and sort threads for a needlework project
- Cut out fabric squares for a quilting project
- Sketch design ideas
- Cut or tear pictures and words from magazines for collages
This week, I am going to do a bunch of art journal page backgrounds.Â (I won't say I'll do one a day--I know I have a busy weekend coming up, so I know I won't do it.)Â I've been wanting to get to my journal more regularly, so maybe having some prepared backgrounds will help with that.
What can you do this week to pave the way for your creative work?
Note for writers: you might do things like setting up files (pages for characters, settings, etc.), finding images that look like your characters and places, things like that. Or you might read some writing articles or blogs. Or you might try some of the above-mentioned non-writing ideas, because sometimes doing something outside your usual creative field is just the thing you need.