My Wild Creative Goddess has packed her bag, left the room and closed the door behind her. No amount of begging will bring her back right now. I stare at a blank page, gingerly holding a brush, but there's a disconnect between heart and hand that can't be fixed in the near future. I could reach for the nearest creative habits book and try squeezing the last ounce of artistic juice out of my body - at other times that might work - but this is not a time to add to my "to-do" list. If the art doesn't come freely, of its own will, then for me it's not worth making. So for now, I'm allowing my Wild Creative Goddess to take a leave of absence and to take care of herself on some sunny beach that she paints for herself, while I wrap myself up in fluffy blankets and watch the final season of Downton Abbey. I'm not concerned. I know that she has left out of love; to give me the space I need to carry out the work I'm being called to do. I know that she will walk back through the door in the future. I know that when she returns she will gently take me by the hand and help me make sense of everything that is happening in my life right now. I trust in her. I trust in my Wild Creativity.
We all lose our creative muse sometimes. We all have blockages, times when life takes over, artistic burnout, or just moments when for no apparent reason our art decides to take a holiday. What do we do at these times? Here's some ideas from my Wild Creativity toolkit that might help.
Keep Calm and Carry On
I'm British, this slogan pretty much sums up our approach to everything. Seriously, don't worry. Creative blockages are a normal part of the artistic life and I don't know an artist who hasn't had to walk through the occasional desert in the landscape of their creativity. Relax, lean into it, allow your muse to take a break and trust that she will return when the time is right for you both.
Dip into your Creative Store
It's easy for me to say don't panic, but if your creativity is also your business, then you still need to make money, right? How do you do that when you are struggling to produce? If you are familiar with my Wild Creativity philosophy, then you will know that I encourage you to save some of your annual creative harvest to tide you over just in case the following year's harvest is not as prolific as expected. Although I'm not creating new work, I have a lot of writing, online courses and workshops that I can use to generate income while I'm not active in the studio. You could think about creating prints or other printed items from your work, teaching online workshops, offering online coaching, art consultancy, writing.... Who knows, this exercise may lead to exciting new avenues for you and your business.
Get Curious, Find Inspiration
When creativity has left, seek it out. Visit museums and galleries, go and see a play, peruse Pinterest, spend a day in the library; whatever you find inspiring, do it. I love to walk and find much of my inspiration as I wander along trails and paths, so that's what I'm doing most days. Get curious about where you live, do all the tourist things that you've never had chance to do and try to see everything through the eyes of a traveller - with curiosity - it's the best way to engage your creative brain.
Just like the seasons, it's perfectly normal for your creative energy to die away at times and to take a Winter break. Don't fight it. Trust that everything passes and that your Spring will soon arrive.