How many times in your life have you heard yourself say that?
I’ve heard myself say it at school, at uni, in various jobs, but more than anything I have heard myself say it in relation to my businesses.
By trade I’m a photographer, an illustrator and a writer.
And sometimes I just CAN’T DO IT.
Does this make me unsuccessful because I have a few bad weeks. No.
We’ve all heard of writer’s block right. Can confirm that is a thing. Remember being at school and trying to write an essay but you just CAN’T DO IT.
Well this is kinda like that, but instead of writer’s block or a creative block I want to talk about creative dormancy.
As pretentious as it sounds, you can’t force good art.
Sometimes I will beat myself up because I’ll not have shot anything new for a month, or I’ll procrastinate like an absolute trooper, or an illustration will wait a few more days than necessary. Hell, even sometimes emails will be left a little later to be replied to.
Why is this? Is it because I’m lazy? No.
It’s because I have to be in the right headspace to know I will do a good job. Whether that’s editing, shooting, illustrating, writing blogs, recording videos or simply knowing that I want to take enough time to reply to a heartfelt email correctly.
I want to be able to be a creative machine 24/7 but that’s not viable.
So this brings me to this quote that keeps me grounded whenever I hit a period of creative dormancy and feel like giving up…
So we have seasons where different types of food is at its best right? Strawberries are best in the summer, we can only get daffodils readily in the spring and don’t get me started on that courgette shortage in 2017, what a debacle.
Every time you are beating yourself up for not finding the energy to create new content, keep up with social media or shooting the next big campaign to go viral – just take a step back.
You’re in your creative dormancy. That doesn’t mean you aren’t good at what you do, nor does it mean you’ll never create great work again. Think back to the last time you felt like this, you’ve created new work and felt that excited buzz again since that right?
So when you find yourself in a space where you CAN’T DO IT. Like the quote says, do the technical tasks.
Arrange your accounts, organise your marketing, assess your audience, even just cleaning your house and keeping yourself and your health in check can help!
Don’t worry what others think of you. When you become at peace with your dormancy period and you understand in yourself that you will peak again one day, you don’t feel you have to prove yourself to others nor do you feel you have to make yourself look busy in order to create an illusion for success.
The more time you spend creating that illusion for fear of being judged, the less time you have to rebuild your energy in order to create.
So take time, have fun, relax without the guilt and let the motivation come back to you when it’s ready, just like the apples on the tree grow when they are ready.
We can’t grow without a little rest, sunshine and fun – so look at these times as less that we CAN’T do something and more that we have permission to do other things for a while to give our creative minds a break.
Keep shining my darlings!