Creativity Lost

Your creative job role ‘says’ you can think in different directions, but after a while strategies and processes which once worked for you could run thin, become stagnant or otherwise fade into the distance.

No one in a creative role wants this to happen however when it does it having a plan of action to get a fresh perspective can be useful to find a fresh approach to that demon ‘creative block.’

You could look at what you currently do and figure out some starting points from that (mind-mapping could work to do that). You could ask how others handle it (research the net for interviews with people in similar industries for how they do it) perhaps it’s a cyclical thing and your ‘biorhythms’ etc. play havoc with your creative sensibilities.

Creativity might be a process driven ‘thing’ for you or perhaps an off-beat ‘seat of the pants’ ride into the unknown for others, an in-between view might list serendipity as the catalyst for a creative approach.

What next you might ask…

Brain basics – Perhaps we need to think about the creative process from a neurological viewpoint. Our senses take in information, our brains process it, it goes into our memories and can be retrieved. If This part of the ‘Neuro process’ is not enough (hey you have run out of creative options, that’s why you are reading this yeah?) then you have to feed it with fresh material. for it to utilise. This way your brain can take some of the old and mix it with the new to let you formulate or percolate options to explore. Explore LOTS of fresh material for your brain, think “What can I feed my senses with (other than drugs…) which will be different to what I have been doing?”

Break your cycle/s – If you find you have challenges to your creative processes you might need to break some personal and or other cycles, are there specific situations or times when your creativity is at a low point? Are there external factors (other peoples cycles) which interrupt your processes. Knowledge of these may cause you to avoid them, work around them, and/or adjust them to suit.

Struggle free zone – If you struggle to create then the ‘flow’ of creative options can be hampered, so avoid struggling. Perhaps it’s a ‘self-talk’ thing.  ”I have to but I CAN’T!” This puts pressure on you to perform, pressure may well work in some instances for some but not for others, which is it for you? What if you are used to struggle and pressure to perform and you don’t get it…Either way you get to deal with some form of struggle. Figure out ways to avoid it.

Connect with more creative types – The ones who want to share ideas openly, then you share, they share and so on. Record the ideas and images that form in your head anyway you can. I think it’s a lot like panning for gold, the more you do it the more chances you have of finding some gold!

Get more of the right tools – If you want to build anything you need tools, do an interweb search for creative tools and make it your business to add to your tools, if an old one wears out or needs sharpening then get new ones or sharpen those you have.

Now make them work for you. In a results based world where goals are etched in stone (often by others) ensure your lost creativity can be found and your world is effectively mapped out. No longer will you be lost in your own territory, but you should be able to add to the map/s you already have.

Dear Artist learn your lessons well.

I love hearing great examples of things I have discussed in my art ramblings on this site, one in particular happened recently in a chat to a good friend. He probably did not realise what he had said that made me go ‘oh yeah, there it is’ but it did.

The ‘thing’ that stood out to me, is to do with what you sell you work for, how you sell it and how people try to buy. Simply put a lot of people fall into a ‘selling mode’ more akin with everyday objects and not with high end, specialty products. Let’s get this straight before I tell you more of his story, Art works are a high end item, they have been hand crafted, (generally one off’s). This fact alone makes them special, those who know your artistic style will also know what makes your Artwork special.

If I go to buy any other one off specialty item, I immediately know there will be, no returns, I will pay the price set for it and there will be NO discounting (or even asking for a discount). Even if it’s a product I order in at a shop, which is not normally in their stock lines the same (almost unwritten) rules apply.

The above illustrates the ‘guidelines’ people use to buy speciality items, there are rules…

My friend went on to say “I’m tired of tire kickers the ones that say, yeah I really like your work, when my tax return comes in I’lll get that… yeah… I will, Hey call me after the show and I will buy direct and save yeah… oh and how about a discount? But it’s a while off yet before I get my tax back…” Needless to say they don’t buy.

My Arty buddy has heard this type of excuse and many more like it too many times that he becomes frustrated and may not sell as much as he wants to. The funny thing is he doesn’t need to be in this position, his role is as an Artist, he should therefore be utilising his Agent or the Gallery to do any sales and chit chat about the buyers ‘situation’. His role is to create the works and talk to people about the art in terms relating to the works.

The problem is people view their world through various filters (created by values, beliefs and experiences), these can either limit what they see or expand what they see, This then impacts how they perceive and what they think about their circumstances and situations they find themselves in. My arty buddy has had enough experiences of ‘tire kickers’ he sees more of them than he should! Therefore people ask for discounts, ask to buy outside of the gallery situation (in the hope of getting it at ‘wholesale rates’ his frustration builds and the cycle continues. His challenge becomes how to break the cycle created by his ‘filters’ and move to the next level.

What can we learn from this.

My Arty Buddy will read this and say “Oh…” followed by “Yeah but…” and my response… “Take it or leave it, my years of sales training, business and life experience, making artworks, watching people in Galleries, chatting to Gallery Directors etc is of value to me and hopefully it can be of value to you too.”