At this time of year, when winter seems interminable and the days donât feel as if theyâre getting much longer, it can be easy to succumb to a feeling of listlessness and to worry that your creative muse is deserting you. At Agora Gallery, we know how relieved visitors are to leave the cold and enter the well-lit, friendly atmosphere of the gallery. It might not seem as though this is a great time for your creativity to blossom. But it is!
You can use this time to help you to focus more clearly on whatâs important to you in your work and your life. When itâs a bit depressing outside is a great time to be inside â in your studio! All you have to do is make sure to avoid common creativity killers and put the energy into the right tasks and opportunities.
Making excuses. You know when youâre doing it! Yes, everyone needs a break once in a while â itâs important to take time off to refresh yourself and gain new perspective â but thereâs a difference between deciding that you genuinely need a break and giving in to that feeling that you canât be bothered to get over a hurdle youâre facing. If thereâs a reason youâre putting off working, face it head on and deal with it.
Avoiding the issue. If there is something thatâs bothering you, something in particular that is getting in the way of your progress, then donât stick your head in the sand. However upsetting or annoying it might be, the only responsible thing to do is be honest with yourself about whatâs going on, admit the problem, and start to work out a way forward. Thatâs the only way to overcome the obstacle. Don’t risk artist’s block!
âNowâs not the time.â Sometimes, of course, this is true â youâre the only one who can realize that youâre not ready to tackle a new challenge or explore a new path. But if you keep telling yourself that youâre not ready for things, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Often, if youâve been thinking a lot about something, you are ready; you just need to take the plunge. If you really arenât ready, and you know it, then give some thought to when and how that might change.
Absorbing negative feedback. Now, Iâm not saying you should only pay attention to âyes-menâ who tell you that your work is wonderful all the time. You do need critical appraisal â but it should come from experts in the field and people you trust, such as teachers, artists you respect, gallery directors or art dealers. Donât let the negative opinions of every passerby affect how you think about your work, and donât let anything they say get you down.
Isolating yourself. It can be tempting, when you want to get in some serious work, to hole up in your studio and pretend the rest of the world isnât there. This can have its advantages for short periods, but itâs not a good idea for the long-term. Social interaction and outside stimulation is important to all of us, and as an artist youâll generally find that your work has greater energy and depth when the rest of your life is balanced in this way. Check out new exhibitions, read papers and magazines, and see friends.
Panicking under pressure. It could be that the advertising youâve been doing recently has begun to pay off, and that between interest from galleries and returning and new clients, youâre rushed off your feet. Or you could be in a position of being offered a number of opportunities all at once. Donât panic. You can handle it; just stay calm, work out a clear picture of whatâs going on, and prioritize.
Never saying âno.â It can be difficult to turn down a chance, whether itâs a new client or an art fair or a collaborative project. But not every opportunity is right for you. If you say âyesâ to everything that comes along, youâll end up exhausted and uncertain and unable to cope. Donât take on more than you can manage. What are your main goals? Go for the opportunities that could help you reach those. Everything else is only an option â you can take it or leave it.