One of our most popular segments the thoughts and musings of Artist, Writer, Musician Steven Archer (Stoneburner/Ego Likeness). This time discussing writers block. A topic that has surely plagued me the last two weeks.
“The Creative Block”
This is for those of you who identify as artists. You know who you are.
Maybe you do it as a hobby, maybe full time. But that is how you see yourself.
“But Steven I don’t see myself as that.”
Then don’t fuckin worry about it. You’re either saying that because you really mean it, and that’s totally fine. Or you’re saying that as a way of staying safe, so that if someone calls you on something that you make you can say “well I’m not really an artist.” In which case, you are correct. You’re a student, (totally fine, we are all students) someone who just doodles for fun (also fine if you enjoy it) or a coward (much less fine, commit to the bit, let yourself get hurt.)
The medium you work in, or the tools you use are irrelevant. They do not define your job. They might from a marketing standpoint, but not internally, inside you’re just one of the tribe.
The physical act of making the thing, it’s a just a small part of your real actual job which is… ideas.
Playing ,”what if,” or “make believe,” or whatever you want to call it.
“But Steven I do photorealistic illustrations.”
Good for you, it’s still the same thing, because you are drawn to specific things to do those illustrations of. What you put out into the world is still influenced by you and your aesthetics if not ideas.
Why am I talking about this?
Because some of you are running around saying “I have a creative block! I can’t come up with new ideas!”
Of course you can.
You already have.
You have tons of ideas, and if you don’t, then you may want to reevaluate how you see yourself.
Because, again, it’s your job.
Here’s the situation.
It’s not that you don’t have ideas.
It’s that you are scared to implement them because you are worried you will get laughed at by…. someone?! Who, dunno.
But for some reason you just don’t see yourself as the type of person who does ,”X.”
The world needs more ,”X.”
And if you are reeeeeeally really stuck, and just can’t produce something you’ve already done, the problem isn’t the ideas, it’s you.
Garbage in, garbage out.
If you keep rehashing the same shit, it’s because you aren’t feeding your brain new information. Pick up a book. Pick up ten, twenty, five hundred, live other people’s lives, write their songs, paint there stories, look through their eyes.
You need to be fascinated by things.
And the more things that you are fascinated by, the wider the range of ideas you have to draw from.
Otherwise you’re not making art.
You’re performing a trick.
It may be a good trick, but if it’s the only one you know, then that’s all it is.
It’s a craft.
A series of actions that anyone can do that will eventually yield a similar result.
Like basket weaving.
Which is, again, totally fine.
If you want to weave baskets, fuckin do it.
But don’t run around expecting applause.
Because in the end, art is as much about the person that the work is filtered through as it is about the work itself. And the wider the width and breadth of your interests and knowledge the larger the vocabulary you will have available to express your ideas about a wider range of subjects.
“But steven, all I do is paint the same thing over and over with vaguely different permutations.”
That’s not art.
Even if people put it up on their walls.
Now, the fact that you have convinced people that your trick is worth spending money on and putting on their walls… that could very well be art. In which case, well fuckin done.
*Yes yes, baskets can be art.
Look, I get it, you vaguely feel attacked, so you want to try to pedantically find little shit to bitch about, because if you can tear down one aspect then hopefully the rest will fall down and you don’t have to take it seriously and you can keep just farting around and blaming other shit for your shortcomings. But that is just Soooooo fuckin tedious. If you used the time and effort you put into your defense mechanisms to pop a few humility pills and just got to work, we wouldn’t even be having this hypothetical conversation.
Really. Try it.
Or keep making excuses while knowing down in your secret heart that you’re just a coward.