Friday, 26 August 2011

A Creativity Hiatus (and what to do if you have one)


I am in the middle of a Creativity Hiatus.  I think this one has occured quite naturally from the drowsy gentle August we've been having here.  When a Creativity Hiatus descends, nothing much gets done and there's no inclination to do anything either - for me I'm talking about painting or drawing or writing (my e-book).  
I walk past my current WIP and I don't feel the itch to get stuck in again...

...I just feel a calmness and a quiet knowledge that the time to come back to it will present itself soon enough.  There is no panic, no urgency.

I see my bookshelves, crammed with creative reading material, business books, inspirational books...

...and I feel no need or desire to be reading them right now.  It's a system shut down and I am happy to potter and trust that this quiet lull is a very necessary part of the creative process.

I used to get pretty frustrated and peed off when my Mojo left town.  That's how I used to describe it when I felt that all my creative energy had drained away, that there was nothing there apart from an inexplicable emptiness.  It used to terrify me if I'm honest.

And so I used to force myself to create stuff.  I'd get my paints out and think 'right, today is Painting Day.  My Mum has my daughter, I have to paint something!!'
I would sit there surrounded by my paints, my brushes, my paper and I would stare at it all and feel completely unmotivated.  My mind would be a blank, as blank as the paper in front of me and I would feel tension creeping over me, a mild panic settling in my belly as I realised that nothing was coming. 

Needless to say, I would maybe half heartedly begin a painting but it didn't work out right and I ended up feeling worse than I had done before.  Now I felt hopeless as well as unmotivated.  Yuck.

There is an easy way to deal with a Creativity Hiatus, to make it easier on yourself.  Here's what I've discovered:

Go with the flow.
Allow the quiet parts when nothing happens - let go of the panic and know your creativity will return soon enough.
Don't try and force yourself to be creative - it's a non starter and guaranteed to make you feel worse than before.
Relax and do other stuff, take the time it takes.  It's all OK.

A Creativity Hiatus usually occurs before something Big is about to manifest.  I began to notice a pattern occuring as I thrashed my way through these deserts of emptiness; that despite the quiet, the lack of enthusiasm, the lack of inclination, the lack of energy it all of a sudden one day Happened again.  And it happened in a Big Way.

The quiet time was eventually rewarded with a new opportunity, with a brand new idea, with a new direction.  It resulted in a new wave of energy and a surge of enthusiasm and inspiration.  It always ended in a positive way which is why I now trust a good outcome when it happens to me.

A Creative Hiatus is a necessary part of the creative journey, and I hope this post has helped those of you journeying through your own.

Wishing you all a glorious weekend ~ sending love
Julia x x x


  1. Enjoy the lull before the next storm. We all have mojos that need a break from time to time. It gives you a little time to recharge the creative batteries :-)
    Have a great weekend.
    A x

  2. This was lovely reading (as was your holiday post), & I think it can be transfered into many other aspects of daily life.

    Go with your minds flow - I am sure it will be leading to something exciting...


  3. Hi Julia..I agree with what you've written today. I've found that life lived away from the craft becomes inspiration for it..what ever the 'it' is! Enjoy this part of the cycle while it lasts!

  4. Great post Julia... we all need to hear it once in a while as it can be so very frustrating when it happens! Co-incidentally I think I've left my mojo on a beach in Portugal! But hey ho it will return sure enough I'm sure :) Happy weekend to you xxx

  5. Well, I pretty much go with the flow with life in general these days, one of the joys and advantages of being older, retired, with a husband forced into the same situation. Life takes on a calmer feeling, no slaves to the alarm clock, time tables, no 'must do this or thats' any more. I also go with the flow when it comes to how I feel physically, not great for more of the time than I'd like but there you go.. life deals the cards, you do the best you can with them. And emotionally too...if I feel quiet, then I just don't speak until I want to, it doesn't usually last a whole day!
    And so with crafts and being creative with writing. I have known I wanted a BIG PROJECT, something I could do and take my time over which may or may not result in a finished product. And talking to a fellow (new to me) blogger who was involved in research for a book, revived my love of the notion of researching a subject I am interested in, and so I am doing that now, researching watermills in my part of Norfolk, the history of them and the villages they were situated in or near. Looking out old books on the subject, nothing rushed, just nice and slow, like the Cadbury's Caramel rabbit, enjoying every bit of it with no deadlines at all.
    Sorry I couldn't be as succinct as everyone else!

  6. Hi Julia, if I were you, just take it as it comes if you can, and ease on into something new as and when it presents itself. I just wondered if you ever look at the blog of 'Dottie angel' she has a quirky way of writing, but a little while back I saw on her blog, the most amazing cushion she had made, it was like a flower, with swirls of lovely crochet. It might inspire you? not that you have to be inspired, but it's always nice to see such gorgeous things! I thought of you when I read it a little while back. X Julie

  7. so true Julia.
    I have lots of ideas but no real direction so do nothing!!
    it will happen, one day!

  8. I've been in a creative hiatus for the past month, after getting rejected to the first two art fairs I tried getting into. At first, I was feeling guilty for not painting, but I honestly didn't know *what* I wanted to paint anymore.

    I haven't been feeling well for the past week, so I've been forced to really take *everything* in life at a more relaxed pace. And just yesterday as I was contemplating life in general, I realized that I *want* to start painting again!

    Amy :)

  9. Hello Julia! Great post again! I haven't pushed much my self if I didn't feel creative or inspired to work with my sewing etc. But lately I have tried to think 'more seriously' like this could be also my unofficial work and I have seen that sometimes even I don't feel very creative, the inspiration and enjoy may come if I just start something! But still we need now and then more slow time to fill the batteries for the next creative period!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    xxx Teje

  10. Hi Julia, I have been looking at your wonderful blog for a few months now. Today I read this entry and feel huge relief at the discovery that other people go through the same blank periods. I am also in one right now and you have reminded me to have faith and relax in the knowledge that my mojo will return. Thank you! Jill

  11. Just found your lovely blog. I am envious of your crochet! Lots of good advice for those moments when the creative flow gets choked up. My mistake in those moments is to force myself to paint something 'because it's about time I did' or someone asked me to .. it never works! Must try 'go with the flow' more often.

  12. Sometimes more happens in the spaces between without us even noticing. Time being can be better than time doing.

  13. I am just today finding your blog. Your words of advice for facing a creative hiatus will probably be very helpful to someone who is stressed out!

  14. Dear Julia,
    I love the way you are dealing with your creative lull. I've never left a comment here before but I felt I must make it known that I think you are a wonderful artist. Your paintings are simply beautiful. Keep blogging dear, I'd love to see where you'll be in the next one year.

  15. I, too, have had a creative lull this August - it's good to know it happens to lots of folk. I shall follow your good advice and just go with the flow!
    All the best,

  16. I tend to create intensively and then there is nothing for weeks! I guess I get burnt out! I must remember to 'go with the flow' as you say and stop trying to force creativity. x

  17. Dear Julia,
    I found your blog via a pinterest pin and I am so glad. I am really enjoying your blog and I appreciate this post as I am right there with you. Enjoy the lull.


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