Three Ways To Deal With Uncreative Guilt

2014 Artwork Uncreative Guilt Sketch

Let’s face it, there are times when we don’t feel very creative when we “should” be. It happens to all of us – and, as well as being extremely frustrating, it can also sometimes provoke feelings of guilt.

You know, the times when you think “I really should have written something today” or “I really should have made some art today- I made two paintings yesterday!” despite the fact that you didn’t have the ideas, energy, time and/or enthusiasm to actually create something then.

Judging ourselves by the standards of more inspired times when we feel uninspired is just one of those things which everyone has done at least once or twice.

But, if it happens to you (like it did to me the day before I wrote this article), I thought that I’d offer a few tips which might come in handy:

1) Write the day off: If you’re creating things regularly, to the point where it’s a part of your daily routine, then this can almost feel like an unnatural heresy of some kind or another.

But sometimes, in extreme cases, you just need to write the day off and chill out. Most creative blocks can be overcome using various techniques, but there are rare occasions when they can’t.

This is especially true if you’re having an otherwise stressful day – sometimes, in the immortal words of John C. Parkin, you just need to say “f**k it” and do something else.

Yes, you should use every technique that you know to squeeze whatever creative ideas you can out of your brain, but if it comes down to a choice between spending two hours staring at a blank page in absolute frustration or spending two hours chilling out and watching DVDs or playing computer games – then go for the latter every time.

Yes, you might still feel slightly guilty about not creating anything, but at least you’ll have wasted those two hours in a much more enjoyable and relaxing way. A much more relaxing and enjoyable way that might even put you back into the right mood for creativity again….

2) See it as an exception: History is made out of rare and exceptional things – things that are dramatic and out of the ordinary.

If you usually create things regularly and you have one or or two days where you just can’t create anything, despite your best efforts, then this is a rare and exceptional event and you should see it as such.

You should think ahead to when you’re feeling creative again and imagine yourself looking back and saying something like “…And, on the eight of August, I couldn’t create a thing – it was really bizarre“.

This might sound fairly strange, but seeing your uncreative day as a bizarre exception to the rule is a lot better than, say, seeing it as the beginning of a disturbing trend or seeing it as a moral failing of any kind or another.

3) Plan ahead: One of the advantages of creating things regularly is that you’ll probably have a large “back catalogue” of work which you can show people if they’re curious about your work.

On the rare occasions that you haven’t been able to create anything, you can at least remind yourself that you’re still a creative person by showing off your “back catalogue” – even if it is just to yourself.

Plus, if you post your work online, this is when a “buffer” of writing and/or art that you’ve made in advance comes in handy.

Basically, if you stay at least a few days ahead of what you post online – then the occasional uncreative day is no major loss to you since you can still post some of the things that you’ve prepared a few days ago and no-one will be any the wiser that you haven’t made anything today.

Think of a buffer as insurance against writer’s block or artist’s block. Like all forms of insurance, you won’t need to use it most of the time – but it’s there for you when you do need it. But, unlike most forms of insurance, keeping a “buffer” doesn’t cost anything and it’s 100% reliable.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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