Open 365 - Retouched photo in my #Retrogram series © Cherry Jeffs 2012
Feeling under the weather? Creative output plummeted? Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something.
"Sometimes, if we don't allow ourselves these necessary periods of Incubation, (as well as sleep, good food, rest and play) our body throws a wobbly and we get ill. By doing this, our psyche hopes that we'll get to spend some down time, lying on the sofa and thinking about important stuff; the kind of stuff we often don't give ourselves chance to think about."
My energy levels have remained remarkably high so far this winter but this week I hit what I have come to realise is my inevitable slump. Suddenly I can barely drag myself out of bed and that extra flight of stairs to the studio looks as unscalable as Everest. Sound familiar?
I used to panic when I suddenly plummeted into this annual cycle. I'm normally energetic and positive so this sudden swing can feel a lot like depression. These days I'm rather more sanguine about it all because I know it is just a cycle and it will pass. I have learnt to honour this cycle and support it as much as my worldly commitments will allow. I look at my schedule and postpone anything that can possibly be postponed; Of the projects I simply must work on, I try and figure out the path of least resistance.
Is there a rote or low–energy task I can do now to keep everything moving forward? (Preferably ones I can do sitting by the fire!) If I must tackle something big, I break it down into the smallest possible chunks. In the time I've gained from postponing things, I sleep and rest more, keep warm and eat well.
I also recognize that this low-energy time is a time for taking things in; for filling the creative well as Julia Cameron would say. I watch videos on TED or YouTube, I research artists I'm interested in, I revel in Pinterest. My body is exhausted but my soul begins to slowly refill.
The topic of listening to our body clock is just one of many pertinent to the lives of artists of all disciplines that I cover in my forthcoming book, Blast Your Blocks.
This book is built on the solid foundation of my own experience but it's backed up by a HUGE amount of research amongst the words of the best thinkers on the creative process as well as a lot of in-the-studio testing of methods.
Creative block usually gets, at the most, a chapter in any book about creative practice, often a lot less: A remarkably small amount of attention for something that can be so overshadowing and utterly debilitating in the life of an artist. Having experienced recurring creative blocks that at times were utterly devastating, I came to believe they existed for a reason and decided that, if I could learn to overcome my blocks, and help others to do the same, then all this suffering wouldn't have been in vain.
In my book, Blast Your Creative Blocks I share the host of powerful tools I've discovered and developed to keep our art practice alive through the ups and downs of the creative cycle.
Get Blast Your Creative Blocks now and blaze the trail to artistic productivity!