It can be tough being a creative. For me, and the many people I speak to, it can be such a mental roller coaster, and not the fun kind. I can have phases of utter brilliance and productivity, creating my best shots and writing my best articles. Then, as if from nowhere, a brick wall. A complete lack of motivation and a brain that can’t seem to source any creative ideas even if a life depended on it. But, why?
Rather than feel the frustration of not producing the work, I decided to let go, keep my camera away and my laptop closed. I wanted to try and understand what might be responsible for this current loss of motivational mojo. It is easy to go to the obvious excuses such as “I’m not seeing the frames” or “I have written about all the topics I can”. I was learning, however, that external factors can play such a major role in how we work creatively, and how it can be important to resolve none artistic struggles, both internal and external.
What's the problem?
So here I am, on the other side of the world travelling 8 different countries having the time of my life. What struggles have I got? The reality is, travelling isn’t all about zen moments and realising what a beautiful person you are. It can be tough, very tough. You are away from home comforts for a long period of time, living out of a bag with no stability or routine. These factors start to put a strain on you. You also learn about yourself, and sometimes the things you learn aren’t necessarily positive.
As this trip has developed I have understood how much of a worrier I am, more so in uncomfortable circumstances. I have managed anxiety for years, but I have never experienced the kind of anxiety that leads you to believe the worst thing possible may happen. For example, I have constantly worried about getting attacked or harmed, without any real rational for doing so. Identifying that about myself has not been easy, it started to hit my confidence and my belief that I can be a level-headed stable person. To me it’s a challenge I must tackle, something that has likely been living within my mind just waiting to be be brought to the surface. It’s a part of a self development I have to work on.
Also, travelling with your partner has its struggles. You are with your partner 24/7, sometimes with no interaction with other people. You will learn a lot of about who they are and more so, who you are in the relationship. The reality is my constant worrying, self doubt and mood swings impacts the person that I am with. My frustration and anxiety gets dumped on to them, which in result can create a toxic environment. When you can see your state of mind and behaviours having a negative impact on your partner, it is not nice to face up to. Working on yourself and your relationship simultaneously can, at times, feel like an impossible task. Combine this with being in an environment that is nothing like at home really highlights that.
All of this has meant my creative mental space has taken a back seat. I wanted to focus on both my mental health and my relationship, two aspects of my life that are extremely important to me.
That is not to say my mental barriers and my relationship are now perfect. However, it does mean I have come up with strategies both by myself and with my partner, on how to move forward and become stronger. Having strategies and a plan in place makes me feel healthier, it makes me feel more relaxed. It has made me want to pick up my camera and open up a word document on my laptop again.
Identify your barriers
There isn’t a creative I have met that does not have barriers to their creative pathways at times. Some decided to keep going at it, even if their content sufferers because of it; I have been guilty of this many times. But if you do find yourself in that position, try putting your camera down, your laptop away and reflect on what is going on in your life as it may need your attention.
Our creativity is very important to us and stands as a vital part of our makeup. But sometimes it is crucial that we put it on the back burner and focus on the other aspects of our life, making them stronger and healthier. Doing this means our quality of life improves, as do our relationships with others, something which will only bring back the strength and quality of our creative flow.
Thanks for reading.
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