Monday, February 18, 2013

My Creative Abyss (+ an incredibly emo self portrait reflecting my frustration)

This post is difficult for me to put together here.  I'm not one to talk about my personal life often.  It's not because I'm a private person... I really don't mind if people know the twisted inner workings of my mind.  It's that I don't think people actually care about the twisted inner workings of my mind. 

However, this topic seems to be quite a common one, and with the encouragement of my awesome blogging symbiont, Jen, I decided to talk about it here on ESM. 

My Creative Abyss

Ever since Christmas came and went, there has been this black hole of creativity in my imagination.  Ideas go in it, but nothing ever comes out.  I've sat in front of the TV with my iPad for weeks browsing Pinterest for inspiration, but instead have only found frustration.  "How can all these people have such brilliant ideas ALL THE TIME??"  I swear, there are some bloggers that I think have some divine creative connection to some crafting angel that always has the perfect ideas for the perfect occasion.  And I'm all over here like... "Oh, here's some new surface I have yet to spray paint and color with a sharpie."  So original, I am. 

Then I started avoiding Pinterest.  The places I normally would go for inspiration became sources of anxiety for me.  I closed the door to my studio and only opened it when I decided to use it as storage.  Right now, there's a box of stuff from RueLaLa, a Shoemint box, bags of yarn, some unframed prints, a bunch of binders and training materials from work and a hundred other miscellaneous items lying on the floor of my studio.  With not a craft in sight.  Only 6 months into starting ESM, and already I've depleted my creative source, whatever it may have been.

Last week, I got the stomach flu.  I spent the day on my couch watching reruns of Vanderpump Rules.  That's when I hit bottom.  I actually started crying, alone, in my pajamas, on my couch with my dog, because I couldn't find one creative spark in my mind.  That night I realized that this is why I always avoided pursuing a creative career.. I've always feared this happening, falling headfirst into a creative abyss, and never being able to crawl my way out. 

A friend sent me an article last week that you can read here.  And of course, I'm sure most of you have read Vintage Revival's post about blog puberty.  Both of these writings helped me tremendously... they both made me realize that 1.) I'm not not talented, 2.)  Every creative goes through this at some point and  3.)  I put way too much pressure on myself to produce tutorials.  Not every post has to be a tutorial.

So I decided I have to push my way through this.  Fortunately for me, I am so blessed to have such a supportive blogging partner.  I was afraid for a while to tell her I was feeling this way.  I didn't want her to regret getting into this with me, but I finally swallowed my pride and spilled my beans.  What I was met with instead of hostility was understanding and compassion.

Now, my question for all of you is... have you ever fallen into a creative abyss and what have you done to crawl out of it?  You guys are all part of this blog, too, so I'd love to know how you all handle stuff like this.  It seriously is the worst. 

So that's a peek into my creative emotional status.  It's amazing how when my creativity is paused, it affects so many other aspects of who I am.  Creating things really is the epicenter of my being.  I feel like I've stalled out and need a jump start.

Sorry for the debbie downer of a post today, but I felt I owed you all an explanation.  Jen has been encouraging me to share more of my personal life/thoughts on ESM.  I thought this was a good start. I promise I will be getting back on track soon!!  You all definitely make doing this worthwhile.  You all make me want to try.. so THANK YOU for that.


  1. Wow - what a post! Shannon - you are wise to listen to Jen LOL! I think its great to post something this personal because it will help the block you are having. Being an artist for 18+ years now, I certainly can relate. I hit this blockage (as I call it) about 3 years ago when I left my full time job as a Graphic Designer to freelance as an Illustrator and stay at home with my kids. For me, the stress from working so much was causing my rut. The first day after I left my office job, I just drew sketches (like a ton of scribbles, whatever came to mind). Try not to force ideas -keep blogging about this. Its good to get it out there - try to go back to Pinterest. Draw inspiration from Jen, Haley and Connor. I draw inspiration from my kids, hubby and cat. And don't worry if you don't have a tutorial - just a simple posting of a sketch would be awesome. Don't let fear get the best of you. Its happened to me. But you are very talented - keep trying. After all, you and Jen are what inspired me to finally get off my tush and start my blog. :)

  2. I have felt like this so many times Shannon!! And for me, Pinterest makes it worse. It's so hard to look at everybody's "best" projects and feel inspired. For me, sometimes just crafting without the pressure of coming up with the idea helped. I usually find some tutorial I love and follow that. It puts me back in creating mode without all the stress of coming up with something new. That's one of my goals this year too - to share more of those types of projects. Hope that helps! :)

  3. Oh. My. Gosh! No you are not alone. I don't blog, but I am the Grandmommie who makes dresses, paints furniture, makes wreaths, etc. Sometimes, I sit and look at my "playroom" and just sigh. Give it time, forget about it and do something else you love. Sounds easy, but it is not. I agree with Beverly, I have to stop trying so hard. Don't try to post as many tutorial. I began following you and just love the way you write. Take your time, I,m not going anywhere, please God. Regena in TN.

  4. I'm so sorry- that feeling is the worst! I think that sometimes the things we fear the most give us an insight into what we want the most. You fear a creative career because this might happen, but it did. And you know what? That's great! Because now it happened an you don't have to fear it anymore. I think it was so brave of you to share and you have dedicated readers who don't care if every post is a tutorial because we love the blog either way. You guys are doing a great job, are obviously great partners, and will get trough this to continue creating great content.

  5. Okay, what caught my eye immediately is the part about the television, ipad and pinterest. Those are someone else's creativity. I think you need to find your own at your own time and pace. We all know this isn't something that can be turned on when we want.

    And I'm probably going to be flamed here, but don't you think you are being a bit narcissistic?

    1. Thank you for the comment. I definitely am trying to come up with my own ideas, but I think when you hit a creative road block, finding inspiration in others' work can help. Kinda like a little spark igniting a fire.

      As for me being narcissistic, I'm curious as to what you are referring. This post was not intended to glorify myself in any way, just simply let everyone know why my projects have been few and far between since Christmas.

  6. @ SandySTC - really - you are telling me that you create things out of thin air without any inspiration, you must be a creative genius! Apparently you did not read her pouring out her heart on the page and understand that everyone has a moment of needing time and inspiration – if you don’t want to read her thoughts then go find a new blog to read – negative thoughts are not welcomed when someone has hit a wall you big bully!

    PS look up narcissistic – her post is the furthest thing from it!


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