How To Enjoy Your Season of "Not-Creating"
At the beginning of the year I psyched myself up to set goals around the belief that it was going to be another big creative push year, not knowing that I was moving into somewhat of a hibernation phase where my creative energy would hit a low point and the little I did have I'd spend in different ways than I imagined.
Not painting as consistently has stirred up a nagging inner voice that I've had to wrestle with to get to a place of clarity, acceptance, and ease. And I'm going to share some of that insight here because I know it will be helpful for you too (even if you find yourself with a super high creative output right now).
As creatives we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to always be on and actively operating in our craft, to constantly be creating (thank you, social media). But that’s not Nature’s design and it shouldn’t be ours either. Just as nature swings in and out of seasons so gracefully (I don’t think Spring gets emotionally hung up when Summer comes knocking at the door) we need to give ourselves permission to swing in and out of seasons of creating and not-creating, because it’s just that – a short season in the hopefully expansive timeline of our lives here on Earth.
When we are in a creative push phase that spark of inspiration moves through us into our creation so effortlessly and our creative output is high. But the not-creating phase looks like a pause, it looks like rest and recalibration and our creative output is much lower — this is a time when that internal well of inspiration needs to be replenished (and there are so many ways to refill it).
To be super clear: in a season of "not-creating" you are still engaging with creativity, but doing so in shorter bursts or in different ways than you'd consider your norm. For example, painting is my normal expression of creativity, but in this season I'm focusing on illustration and copywriting.
Here are some signs that you might be
in a season of "not-creating" –
In the not-creating you might:
not have the desire to create in your usual way
feel a pull to focus on other areas of your life (that often don't get as much attention in a creative push season)
have a lower stress tolerance and/or lower energy
mirror the earth season of fall or winter (letting go, slowing down, craving rest and relaxation)
constantly feel inspired, but don't feel the urge to put that inspiration into action
feel a little jealous when you see other art instead of motivated
catch self-doubt creeping in
Here are some simple things you can do to adjust to your season of rest:
accept where you're at and give yourself permission to enjoy this season instead of beating yourself up about it
adjust your expectations: focus on gathering inspiration instead of pushing out art for the next few months (but don't put pressure on yourself to act on that inspiration if it feels forced)
adjust your goals: what feels achievable, life-giving, and will bring you freedom over the next few months?
collaborate: if you have the creative capacity, reach out to another artist and work on a project together
spend some extra time in nature (it helps ground us and slow us down)
take a (small or big) break from social media
focus on nourishing yourself: rest, hydration, movement, healing foods, therapy
adopt a more playful creative practice and explore new art mediums and techniques (aka don't try to make good art, just have fun)
start dreaming again, use this prompt: "you are magically gifted with the ability to peek into your life 5 years from now, describe what you see"
Being in a season of low creative energy and output feels completely antithetical to the life path of an artist, but this is where a mindset reframe needs to come into play. We are not meant to always be "on" – while there's something to be said about being disciplined in your practice – I'd like to suggest that embracing your natural cycles of creative rest will only amplify and strengthen you and your work.
The tricky thing is that you don't know what season you're in until you're smack dab in the middle of it. So save this post for when you need it, and if you need it now, sending you solidarity vibes, my friend.
Be sure to stay tuned for the second part in this blog series that covers how to tell the difference between being in a season of creative rest or being in Resistance and procrastination. This is the secret sauce to self awareness and artistic growth.
Wishing you happiness and health,
Skye | @indigoskye.art
p.s. check out my art here