Dry spells, creative slumps and taking risks

I have not been going out for photo walks at all lately. And to be absolutely honest, I haven’t felt like it. I don’t know if I have fallen into a creative slump or if it’s just the natural course of creativity. Dry spells happen sometimes.

Of course, it could also be this dismal winter weather that is curtailing my inspiration.

But that does not mean that I have not been thinking about artsy things and expressing my creative side.

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My daughter, who is ten, came home from art class last weekend and showed me her latest drawing. It’s a simple drawing of a crayon, coloured and shaded with a skill and precision that makes me wonder where she gets her artistic eye from. It’s certainly not from me…

…and then I could kick myself because there I go again with the negative self-talk disguised as self-deprecating humour.

I catch myself saying stupid things like “she obviously doesn’t get her creative talents from me” or “she gets this from her dad” who is a musician, “or the artistic talents must have skipped a generation, she gets it from my mom” who used to do oil paintings.

Why do I do that? My negative inner dialogue feels like a really bad habit that is impossible to break. I worry that if I keep it up I will drive away whatever creative juices I have managed to recover in the last few years and make them dry up completely. I worry that whatever creative projects I produce will completely stink, and then suddenly expressing myself feels like too much of a risk that I am not willing to take. So I don’t and I go on continuing to be unhappy and unfulfilled because I silence my own creative voice.

Okay, so maybe I am in a bit of a slump.

Today I am reminded that living a creative life is not so much about the finished product, whether that may be a drawing, a photo taken with my iPhone or my thoughts expressed in words on the screen in front of me. Perhaps for me, it has more to do with finding the courage to pick myself up, ignore the negative voices in my head and go out and do the things I enjoy because they make me feel good and they inspire me.

The thing about creative expression is that sometimes inspiration doesn’t just show up on your doorstep or fall in your lap. Sometimes you have to get out there and find it.

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