To Create or Not to Create

Taking a break from Creating:

As artist’s we often forget that creating every day is not humanly possible. Ok, maybe for some who run on creative fuel and are able to produce master pieces one after another but for us average human beings I don’t think it’s possible to create without a break. Most people take a break from their day to day by turning towards art as their creative outlet and burn that extra energy or to distract themselves from the stresses of daily life. While researching for this article I found that the internet is full of articles on how to take a break and create, but what about artists who do nothing or well mostly nothing but create?

I have a few things that I tend to use as my ‘escape’ when I need to find inspiration or reset my head before moving on to the next artwork. These are things I learned after being burnt out and soon after I realized that it is not possible for me to lock myself up in a box and keep creating like a machine because that limits not only my creativity but I can see the ‘rush’ or ‘desperation’ to create in the results.

So what do you do when you take a break? How do you stop obsessing over that next piece that you MUST create? Let’s break it down.

“Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.”

– Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Learn A New Skill:

This is something I realized I do from time to time again and heard another well known artist talk about it as well in her podcast. I think as creatives it’s important to keep working on our skills. For someone like me who is constantly obsessing over creating, I feel like when I step away from it and pick up something new to learn my heart and mind is completely taken over by that new skill. For instance, if you’re a photographer you can take a break from your camera and pick up painting? or if you’re a painter then you can take a break and pick up illustration? and if you’re like me who is always experimenting with techniques and different genre’s of art then take up something physical like music or yoga? My point being do something different even if you’re staying in the ‘creative realm’ of things – because you can never not benefit from a new skill if anything you can actually combine that new skill into what you’re about to create next.

Exercise:

If I had a dime for everytime someone told me exercise is good for the brain I’d have my own private jet by now. Because guess what? regular exercise is the best way to find you creative energy. I say that from experience, when I am stuck indoors creating my next work I can’t help but feel depressed at times (nothing against that because that for some people is the only way to create). Even though I try to squeeze in a quick workout session while I’m not taking a break but when I am taking a break I try to do atleast two workout sessions, one of them has to be outdoors. Because we as humans need to breathe fresh air and be one with nature as much as possible.

Music for the soul:

There is nothing on this planet that can heal the mind better than music does. Ok, maybe there are substances that numb us out and do some magic but the all ‘natural’ way would be music. So yes, we’re always playing music when working but how about switching up genre’s? Take a break from something you listen to all the time and explore something different? I love exploring music because it always seems to help me find inspiration or envision something I hadn’t thought about which I can later convert to art. I do wish I was clever enough to maintain a log of these ‘inspirational ideas’ but unfortunately I am also extremely lazy and would rather stuff my face with candy then do something wise like maintain a creative ideas log. Oh well, to each their own I guess – but I do think it’s a smart way to keep track of thoughts and ideas for later because being on break doesn’t mean your mind will shut off it just means you can collect every idea you get and save it somewhere.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.”

– Anne Lamott

Read a Book:

How often do we find time to read without distractions? probably never!. When your mind is free from the stress of having to create it helps to dive into a world of fantasy and explore different worlds that are built without limits. I absolutely LOVE that, a world where anything can happen at any given moment. Where the unreal exists as ‘real’ . We forget that imagining a whole world in our minds with just words is actually an exercise for our brains. We can create anything, do anything and envision anything without barriers and that itself will set you up for your next masterpiece. I highly encourage fiction or philosophy for reading because sometimes we all need new ideas and new thoughts to reset our brains.

Experimental Cooking:

This one may come as a shock to most people but yes, cooking helps. We don’t realize cooking is actually a creative outlet when we are experimenting with new recipes and not doing it because it HAS TO BE DONE.If you take your time, create like a chef creates his masterpiece – I assure you it will be something that helps you mellow out and breathe in new air. I say this from experience because I am always rush cooking to put food on the table but when I do it without the stress of getting back to my desk I find it more peaceful and fun.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

– Lao Tzu

Organize till you drop:

Nothing and I mean NOTHING is more satisfying then obsessively organizing. We all do it and call it spring cleaning, but if we do it during our ‘breaks’ we a.) get instant satisfaction from seeing the obvious results and b.) the best way to declutter your mind is by decluttering your space. I spent years of college living with ‘stuff’ all around me and it was so bad that somedays I would end up sleeping on top of my desk because my artwork and research was everywhere in my room. The stress of it was insane, but I never had the time to clean – or well I was lazy, BUT now and here, every time I take a break I declutter every space I could find in my house and especially around my workspace.

I love this little discussion by ARTISTS who are talking about the importance of taking a break

Checkout: Art Prof for more resources,

Conclusion:

So what did we learn here today? It is IMPORTANT to take that break and give yourself that breather WITHOUT guilt. I am ‘guilty’ of experiencing ‘GUILT’ every time I step away from work because I feel like I NEED to be PRODUCTIVE. However, by doing any of the things I mentioned above I am actively doing something and not laying flat in bed drowning my sorrows in coffee (and that’s okay too because sometimes we need it). There’s only so much we can handle as humans physically and mentally, there comes a time when we need to step away and take a breather before we come crashing down like a tornado and are bed ridden for months. So, please I encourage you to take a break after every piece or every two or three pieces you create and give yourself that time you need to recover from ‘creating’. Because no one tells us how much physical and mental energy it takes to put your heart out on your canvas. But only those of us dealing with this day in and out truly realize that it is draining us.

If you have any suggestions on how else we can take a break please feel free to drop it in the comments I would love to hear!!!

Until next time, keep creating.

xoxo

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