I’m sure that I’ve written about this topic before, but I thought that I’d talk about creative unenthusiasm again. This is slightly different from writer’s block or artist’s block, since it describes a time where you can think of ideas for writing or artwork but you just can’t really find the motivation or enthusiasm to put those ideas onto paper. It’s when writing or making art/ comics feels like a chore.
If you’ve seen a few of my recent articles and some of the art I posted earlier this month, you may have noticed that I was going through a bit of an unenthusiastic time. Still, I’ve been able to keep this site going using a few of these techniques. I apologise in advance if I’ve mentioned any of this stuff before, but hopefully there will be some new stuff here too.
1) Go for the “easy” option (but still make something): If you’re making smaller self-contained things (eg: individual paintings, non-fiction articles, short stories, webcomic updates etc…) then one way to deal with unenthusiastic times is to make things that you consider to be “easy” to make. If making things feels like a chore, then try to lessen the load as much as you can.
So, write about topics that you know a lot about, write about topics that you’ve written about before, draw the kinds of pictures that you could draw in your sleep, come up with an easy running joke/ short story arc for your webcomic etc…
For example, during my unenthusiastic art phase, I mostly focused on making digitally-edited landscape paintings. Since drawing people is something I consider to be slightly challenging, I tried to draw as few people as possible and I mostly produced digitally-edited paintings like this instead.
This ensured that I still had content to post every day, whilst reducing the amount of effort I had to put into my art. The thing to remember here is that although “easy” filler content might disappoint your audience, it’s considerably less disappointing than posting nothing at all.
The other thing to remember about “easy” things is that, even if you aren’t feeling enthusiastic, if you pay lip service to writing or making art (and do a bit of a half-arsed job) then it’ll be a lot easier to get back into the swing of things when you do feel enthusiastic again. And, eventually you will. So, just keep going with the minimum amount of effort possible until your enthusiasm returns.
2) Add some fun to the creative process: One way to get your enthusiasm back, or to reduce your unenthusiasm slightly is to try to find a way to make whatever project you’re working on fun again. Or to find some way to incorporate other fun activities into what you’re doing.
For example, if your webcomic is feeling stale – then make a short story arc that parodies your favourite TV show or videogame. If making art feels boring, then try making a type of art that’s slightly funny (eg: satirical cartoons, parodies, caricatures etc..) or make something rebellious (eg: nude art, punk art etc... If you’re writing fiction, then just try writing a short piece about something that you geek out about a lot. I’m sure you get the idea.
To give you an example from this blog, I plan to review “Serious Sam: The Second Encounter” at some point in the future. This is an old computer game from the early ’00s that I bought online when it was on sale back in December. The review will be an easy one to write and I’ll probably enjoy talking about this game a lot. But, more importantly, this has actually had a knock on effect on my motivation for writing other articles because I know that, as soon as I review it, I won’t have an “excuse” to play it so much.
That was a bit of a weird example, but it illustrates how incorporating fun into your writing, drawing, painting etc.. process can help you to feel a bit more motivated. This also brings me on to the last point on the list…
3) One-Time Backup ideas: One of the things that can help you feel more motivated is knowing that you have a backup idea that you can rely on if you can’t be bothered to think of new ideas. This works best if it’s an idea that can only be used once, since it’s there if you need it – but there’s also an incentive not to use it unless you really have to.
For example, if you’re an artist, then find an interesting-looking object that you can make a still life painting of. Since you can only really paint this object once or twice before it would get repetitive and boring, you’ll probably want to put off using it for as long as possible. In other words, you’ll be motivated to make more art.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂