Common Agony of Those Who Create to Live.
It’s not often I stop talking- or thinking for that matter. But somehow, it happened for the first time in my life that day; my mind seemed to suddenly stop working, and all I could do to express myself was to use some ordinary hand gestures, accompanied by a rather annoying “umm” type of sound. I was somehow unable to pass the idea, the one I had as clear as broad daylight the day before, on to the paper. I wasn’t even able to communicate it to the person standing in front of me in a reasonable manner. I stared at the paper in front of me, and as it stared back at me, all I could see were the questions that I kept asking myself: “What am I even doing?” “Why can’t I think of anything?”
Being unable to answer these questions gives you a strange feeling. A kind of emptiness…
Understanding this emptiness, knowing it well is an important part of working in the creative industry. The feeling of losing your creative touch is not only frustrating, but stressing as it inevitably leads to panic about where your career is going. According to a global research conducted by the Creative Group and AIGA, problems the agency workers complain about the most are project deadlines(%31), creative vision(%30), and project variety(%14). As you would imagine; long and dense working hours, combined with the quick exhaustion of ideas are not helping either. At the end, creative lapses throw people in a kind of a black hole. There is even a clinical explanation of the issue- the dulling of emotions in a person whose profession calls for them. (Psychology Today, 2013) So, what’s the deal here? We can’t seem to do our jobs for one thing, and now we also happen to be emotionless and dull?
You might find yourself in this position at the most unexpected time. You might see this side of the creative mind as a result of many seemingly irrelevant things; the death of someone you know, being a perfectionist, being rejected, having financial issues and more… The important thing is to be able to accept the situation as it is, when it happens, and act accordingly, to get yourself out of it. And always remember that creative lapses, for lots of artists, served as stepping stones to a new, more productive period in their lives.
“Big opportunities await in the midst of hardship.”
If you are rightly wondering what can be done to get out of this mess, let us hear from a couple of experienced people in the industry, from all over the world…
Kim Holtermand / Photographer / Denmark
For me, music is the key… It is a tool, that goes far beyond just being a mere source of inspiration, and helps images and ideas to actually form in my mind. The melancholy of music triggers my emotions, helping them find their own form in my brain.
Follow him at @holtermand
Ian Enis Tiryaki / Creative Director / Turkey
Awareness is crucial… First of all, you need to be able to recognise the situation you found yourself in. My method is to take a break from the work for a while – can be 10 minutes, or a week, it really depends. “Experimental creativity” allows me to think clearly again, while it also helps me to think outside the box and express myself fluently. And, of course; regular sleep hours, and getting my personal and professional life in order also help me get back on the creative track.
Follow him at @ian.tiryaki
Radim Malinic / Art Director / UK
It is easier said than done most of the time, but when you realize you are in a creative lapse, not giving in to panic is one of the most important things to remember, as it will definitely help you get out of the situation. Try to calm down, and pinpoint the root of the problem. Create some time and space, so you can be by yourself and think freely. Go have dinner outside, start running, or do whatever you feel like doing, but just stay outside of your studio.
Follow him at @brand_nu
Gazali Görüryılmaz / Director / Turkey
Gangaji has a great saying; be it anger, hurt, sadness or even great joy, acting upon intense emotions will never get you where you want to go. Feelings are to be felt only, and that’s it. So, in the basis of our daily actions and our creativity, lies understanding and peace. I believe that if someone is experiencing creative difficulties, he or she might in fact be experiencing problems in his/her inner balance. Whenever I have creative difficulties, I try to get a better understanding of myself, and the world I am creating. Regarding this, I prefer little meditations during the daytime, that might help to steer away the distractions and unwanted energies, letting me be with myself and balance my thoughts.
Follow him at @gazaligoruryilmaz
Ryan Clark / Illustrator / Seattle, USA
One word: Run! The possibilities are virtually limitless. If you’ve got an unfinished sentence, that means you have thousands of different endings… So run wherever you can; as you have one purpose- to see inspiring things- to feel them, to be precise. Don’t feel like you have to come up with something groundbreaking; the important thing is to make yourself feel good once more, good enough to pick up the pen, and start creating again.
Follow him at @icreature
Written by: Buğra Akyüz
Edited by: Tufan Tepedelen