I was having lunch with my awesome friend Laurie last week. I spent the better part of our lunch complaining about my creative block and my inability to light a "creative" fire under my butt. I've had a rough few months (physically) and it's take a toll on me creatively.
When Laurie asked me how I wanted to to spend my creative energy, I answered "writing and painting." Then I launched into a big, long excuse as to why I couldn't do either since I couldn't seem to pick which one was the "right" one for me. For some reason, I've felt like I have to pick one or the other. I can't do both. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but I've been telling myself I had to pick a single creative outlet otherwise I wasn't a "true" artist. That's just crap ... and was holding me back in countless ways.
In the process of talking this out, I realized something: I don't want to write or paint. I want to tell stories. I can tell stories through my paintings, as well as through the written word. Heck, I could combine the two and add words to my paintings as a storytelling technique.
That night, I tackled a blank canvas for the first time in months. With a black Sharpie I scrawled words that resonated most with me in the moment: Calm the fuck down (sorry for the profanity, but that's really what I was thinking, especially since I had just read this). Then I proceeded to paint over the words. I created an abstract piece that signifies what it feels like to smother the angst and calm the fuck down.
Since then, I've started two more canvases and finished working on a large mixed media piece – done on reclaimed wood from my dad's barn – I've been working on since July. I feel more inspired than I have in ages. The overarching lesson I've learned in the whole process? I can often make things harder than they need to be. I just need to get out of my own way; get started; and tell stories using all the tools available to me.
It feels so good to get out of my own way and tell stories. What story are you going to tell today? And how are you going to tell it? There is no wrong answer ... just start.