Recently, the white page has been winning. Sitting down to create, I get distracted by Netflix, my phone, video games, eating, staring at a ceiling chanting... it's been bad. I managed to convince myself I wasn't creative. Looking back at my creative output from this last year, I found myself getting anxious, as if it was a callout, rubbing in self-esteem issues. Within that, I managed to convince myself I lost all creativity I once had.
When I was still going to school, I remember trying to push the boundaries of creative projects. I convinced a creative writing teacher to let me send her a sound recording with flute, drums, and voice over... I made a science project into a interactive pop-up book... I remember incessantly asking teachers what boundaries I could push.
Thinking back, and accepting I'd buried myself in self-deprecation, I found steps to help start being more creative again:
1. Lie to yourself.
Maybe it's low self-esteem, maybe it's a comparison game, or maybe it's because other things have gotten in the way. Sometimes you need a good personal lie to aim yourself.
First off, where is it that you want to be with your art? What compliments do you say to your favourite creators? Now either bring up your phone camera or a mirror, and tell yourself each one of those. Compliment yourself, even if you don't believe it at all.
I felt like a nutter doing it, but honestly, you need to be your own cheerleader. Sure, it's nice to have friends or family who pump your ego, but it kinda has to come from yourself eventually.
2. Write down your frustrations.
What are your insecurities? What do you think has been getting in your way? What makes you incredibly self-conscious about your art?
Now burn it, rip it to shreds, scribble on it, or just throw it out.
Sure, you probably have parts to practice and work on, and you can do that, but there is definitely a lot of negative self-talk that really doesn't help (take it from the expert of down-talking and critiquing my own creations).
It is surprisingly therapeutic. An act of rebellion against your main hater.
3. Do it.
Always wanted to paint? Always wanted to make a comic? Feel like you'd absolutely suck so you don't?
You always have to be a beginner first. You will always have something to learn. You will always see something you could have done better once a project is done. But you really can't ever learn how to do something until you start trying.
4. Keep doing it.
You can't expect to get to a creative nirvana in five minutes. You need to give creating the time it deserves. Whether it is taking out a sketchbook daily or a larger chunk of time once per week, you need time to get more absorbed. For me, that meant setting my phone in another room and staying away from clocks with a drink in hand.
5. Tie passions together.
If you are always creating to learn, or challenging yourself for the sake of "having to get better," chances are it will begin to feel intimidating, or like a chore. For me at least, I need a secondary motivator. I really enjoy creating stories and character backstories, so I've drawn the most when I'm motivated by a story. It could be anything though: A love of plants, wanting to send a message... whatever floats your boat. Having that secondary passion, firstly, will give more depth to your art and more creativity, as well as an extra motivator to start creating.
6. Remember to have fun.
Art is fun. I know, sometimes it's hard to believe. Let yourself be silly. Let yourself indulge. Remember to enjoy it. It doesn't have to be for someone else. Social media doesn't need to see it.
Creativity can seem very daunting, but it really doesn't need to be. It is just a matter of putting multiple things together: A dancing turtle, and a purple dog. I hope this helped you, even a little.