Although this is an expansion to an article that I wrote last year, I was in a similar stressed-out mood when I wrote this article a few weeks ago as I was when I wrote last year’s article. Luckily though, this mood has passed.
Since I don’t want to turn this into a depressing personal blog about every little worry and stress in my life, I won’t go into any detail about why I was in this mood at the time of writing this article. But, anyway, if you’re not careful, this kind of mood can completely wreck your creativity and your drive to produce art and/or fiction.
So, I thought I’d try to come up with a few more ideas about how to create things when you’re worried about the future or you’re stressed out about something that might happen in the near future. So, let’s begin:
1) Set yourself a challenge: One of the first things that stressful and worrying situations can do is to sap your energy and shake your confidence in the world in general. And, of course, if you aren’t feeling energetic or confident, then creativity can become a lot more difficult.
Yes, you might have lots of wonderful creative ideas – but devoting lots of time and mental energy to them might seem “wasteful” or “pointless” in these circumstances.
So, how to you get around this?
Simple, you set yourself a challenge. You challenge yourself to, say, produce 500 words of fiction a day or one A5-sized drawing per day – this challenge can (and probably should be) less intense than your normal creative schedule.
But, even if it isn’t, then the important thing is that you see it as a challenge (or a game) rather than a chore or a burden. Don’t ask me why this works, but it does. Hell, it’s why I’m actually writing this article in mid-July rather than in mid-August.
Not only that, if you make your challenge something you can realistically (but not necessarily easily) achieve, then you’ll probably feel a small confidence boost when you complete it and this might help to fortify you against any worries or fears that you might be experiencing.
2)See it as a distraction: One of the things that helps me a lot when I’m stressed about things is just not to think about them and distract myself as much as possible for as long as possible.
Yes, it probably goes against most people’s advice on the subject (eg: all of that annoyingly arrogant motivational “feel the fear and do it anyway”, “Get out of your comfort zone” etc.. stuff ) but distractions are usually one of the best ways that I can stay something close to ok when I’m stressed out about something.
Of course, the best types of distractions are the ones that you don’t really have to put too much mental energy into (eg: watching TV, watching Youtube, reading comics etc…). But, at the same time, creating things can also be a good type of distraction too – especially if you’re working on a continuous story or comic and you’re curious where your story will end up going.
Not only that, even “standalone” types of creativity (like writing short stories, writing non-fiction articles or making random art) can provide 30-120 minutes of valuable distraction-time if you’ve either got a good story and/or art idea or you just feel like making something random and spontaneous.
3) Build on things you’ve already made: These kinds of moods can also mean that you might devote less thinking time and mental “processing power” to coming up with new creative ideas. In other words, you might get “writer’s block” or “artist’s block” a lot more easily than you normally would do.
So, what can you do? Simple, you can just take some of your pre-existing works and either re-create them or expand on them in some way or another (I mean, this article is a good example of this technique). You can try re-drawing/re-painting one of your old pictures in order to show yourself how much your art has improved since then, you can re-write and improve one of your old stories – the possibilities are endless.
You see, when you’re experiencing “pre-apocalyptic” writer’s block or artist’s block, the most important thing is to actually create something. Under these kinds of circumstances, things like novelty and originality shouldn’t matter as much as they usually do. So, don’t be afraid to plunder your back catalogue and re-work it.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂