Now that the "great wall" (as I like to call it) is completed, I've been a little bit all over the place when it comes to getting back into my previous groove. I promised myself before the mural began, that once it was completed I would limit the amount of freelance jobs I took on for a bit so I could focus on spending more time creating my own work. I love custom orders, especially lettering, however, I had so much going that the enjoyment of it was being overpowered by the stress. Also, I have a solo show booked for September here in Lynchburg that I want to be working on. And I need the freedom in my schedule to create freely.
So here I am, with that time. And I'm freaking out. My mind is literally exploding with so many ideas, that's it's hard to even write them down. So instead of creating, I've been doing nothing. Yes, I know, I needed some rest after 5 weeks painting outside on a lift, but "rest" to me still involves creating things.
Yesterday, I was ready to explode. I wanted to make things so bad but my mind was overcome with random creative endeavors (starting my garden finally, lettering, illustration ideas, more murals, new recipes to invent, blogs to start writing again, paintings on wood, portraits, house projects, random street art, assemblage, and dying my hair to name a few), that I was stuck. Just stuck.
I started browsing the internet for articles about overcoming the "Too Many Ideas Syndrome" but nothing inspired me.
So, I gave myself an assignment. I had to sit and write the phrase "Too Many Ideas" all afternoon. I know this sounds weird, but I was desperate. And it worked! I got so into it. I was just rolling, having so much fun, just enjoying the creative process again.
This will now be my go-to trick when this happens again. It doesn't have to be writing the same phrase a million times (actually, my total was 59, not including all the ones I threw away in disgust), but setting up an assignment that I must soley focus on for a period of time. That was what I needed - a time of focus.
Today, I'm ready to go. I have ideas flowing, but they are more concrete. I made some lists, and determined which ideas were the best ones to pursue initially. The other ideas will have to wait (if I don't have an amazing garden this year, the world is not going to end...).
So, if you ever find yourself with this creative anti-block, give this a try:
1. Choose a very specific topic, phrase, or object. It could be pelicans, strawberries, a Bible Verse, whatever. Avoid vague topics though, such as "birds" or "fruit". By giving yourself limits, it forces you to dig deep when interpretting your topic, producing new layers of creativity.
2. Limit your supplies. Too many options get's overwhelming. I used just pens and paper. You could use watercolor and pens, just pencil, whatever. Just don't give yourself too many choices.
3. Set a goal: My goal was to come of with at least 50 different ways to write out the phrase. Your goal could be a time limit - an hour working uninterupted (or like I did, almost 5 hours...)
4. Create! There is no pressure. These aren't prints you are trying to sell on etsy, or finished works for a gallery. The goal is to simply be focused on making one thing and one thing only.
I found that by just limiting what I did yesterday, helped me relearn how to focus on one idea at a time. So today, I'm choosing one of the ideas that I've had, and I'm focusing soley at that in the studio.
Here are some of my favorites from yesterday:
Happy Friday everyone!