August 24, 2012

Getting Unstuck

 While I was on my trip to the west side of the state a few days ago for vacation, I spent a lot of time thinking about my art and career and life.  Being a self employed artist, I often find waves of one or more of those three things out of balance.  There have been times that I have ignored everything else in life to work.  Other times, I am consumed by artistic vision and I forsake friends and work to just make stuff.  But lately, it has been my personal life that has taken over everything.  I have lost a lot of motivation to make art and to keep up with business stuff.  I have even thought about looking for a "real job" lately, out of not only necessity, but boredom. 
My trip gave me some perspective on these things.  I really do have a potentially awesome career and I have made it work for many yeas.  And when I tell people I think of quitting art they tell me I must be crazy and that I should be grateful that I should appreciate that I have the skills and opportunity to make a career in the arts.  I know they are right.  It's just so hard and takes an all-consuming amount of concentration and motivation and work.  I have been doing it for enough years to know this.  It just gets so tiring.  I have been a bit burned out.
I think I am working through this drop in motivation and creativity.  I have been through this before.  I usually need some structure and to set rules and goals to remotivate myself.  Right now I am focusing on production, just making and doing, and thinking about the business stuff while I work.  And I am starting to inject some forced creative/art play time into my schedule.  That's the only way I can feel like an artist again, sometimes... to force myself to make art.  Heh. People think artists just lounge around all day, playing in clay or paint or beads. I think this sort of struggle is more common, especially for artists who are trying to make a living with their work. I really hope I can pull through it.  This is the most burned out I have ever felt about my art. Wish me luck and creativity!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.


  1. Oh sweetie! I am right there with you. I can understand the lack of motivation. I feel like I haven't made a thing that I want to make for so long because there is always another demand taking hold of me. I am opening the doors to my creative dream, flinging it wide open to the Universe right now, and although it will be a tough road to travel, I am open to it. I would much rather be facing that challenge than festering in something that makes my heart laden with sadness. I wish you the peace that comes from doing what you love and I want you to know that you are an inspiration to me. I look to you as a wonderful mentor and friend. Know that I am always here to cheer you on and support your dreams whatever they may be.
    Enjoy the day.

  2. I actually understand this. I don't work in the same medium as you, but I do find there are times when I think "I'm going to go work on my beads" then I get out to my craft room, take one look and leave. Not due to any mess, but because I just think "Meh. Not tonight." Those "creative juices" just aren't there. Even being creative can be tiring. Mental processes always make me more tired than physical work any day! Rest when you need, create when you can.

  3. Yep, there definitely is a tide. just go with it. Let yourself not make art for a while, and it will come back when it needs to.

  4. Although I do have the other job to break things up (which really does let the art be an escape rather than a duty sometimes), there are definitely times (some longer than others) where I just step back and shelf the beads. Much harder of a situation for you where your sole income is dependent on your creations. If you wouldn't have been through this before I'd be shocked, I think it's just the unfortunate side effect of a creative career. Of course you'll glide through the slump and your ability to come up with new things and freshen your designs always amazes me :)

  5. I understand that lack of motivation. I especially understand the difficulty in balancing creativity, production, and life. So sorry that you are at this place. But I think you have made a very positive move towards restoring the balance. Scheduling myself is what I do too when I feel out of whack. The best thing I've done for myself is to schedule each Friday afternoon as creative play time. Sometimes it's a walk, sometimes it's doodles, but it is never at my work table. Take care!

  6. Think it over. Follow the path that makes you happy and where your heart leads you. Don't listen or be influenced by others. Just make sure that whatever decision you'll be making will makes you happy.
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