Creative blocks are normal

Jeoffrey Mukubi

SOMETIMES along the artist’s path, we reach a place where we don’t actually love what we’re making. Maybe it’s because we are in a transitional phase, moving from one way of making art into something new. Or perhaps there is a lot going on in our personal lives that is affecting either our ability to get into a creative mindset, the amount of time we have to devote to it, or both.

Or maybe we reached the edge of our current skillset and do not know how to take our work to the next level. Right now all of those apply to me. And I know whatever I am experiencing when I’m creative or not, I am definitely not the only one. So this week’s column is for those of us who are a bit stuck, struggling, not enjoying art and have a creative block.

I needed to tell myself that making art is a growth process. That is its nature. If you don’t tend to it then it really can’t grow, but remember also that part of that growth process is sometimes about pausing, recalibrating, resting.

Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way, stop analysing, stop composing long enough to realize that what you have is really good and if you keep working on it, you might work right past the point of stopping before you screw it up and kick yourself for it.

All experience is valid, in every phase of the cycle, exactly like the seasons – not just valid, but an essential contribution to the whole process, or least to my process.

But most importantly, ask for help. When I am searching for the right something and run into a wall, or when I have experienced a tragedy, or when I as artist want to create so badly, but I can’t because of my day job and I’m kept away from creating for any number of reasons.

This can be very depressing. This is when an artist needs to go deep within to work out what is in there. This is when you need your friend, your spouse, your sibling for some love and understanding.

This is the artist’s way. An artist feels everything very deeply and passionately. They feel the pain of the world, see the grief in everyone’s eyes, and the pain in everyone’s soul. This is the life of an artist. When an artist is happy, we rejoice with the oozing passion. When an artist is depressed, there is no hiding from it. We feel you. We see you. We need you. Keep pushing!