You’ve finished a piece of work that you have loved creating. A real passion project that has been a dream come true. You’ve given your all to making this work and now it has finished. You’ve had lots of amazing comments and feedback on your creation, and it feels good, it feels amazing. Yet underneath it all, you feel drained and slightly down. How can this be? It makes no sense; your brain tells you that you should feel amazing but secretly you feel exhausted.
Recently, I was speaking with a friend who is experiencing the post creative blues, that space within the past project and the future project. A mixed space of joy and depression that leaves you confused by the paradox of both emotions. A space that leaves you exhausted wondering if you can do it all over again. She was mainly confused by how tired and drained she felt from giving herself to a long, demanding project. Her questions ranged from, “is this normal?” to “will I feel like creating again?”. And the answer to both those questions is yes.
The post creative blues are real. To be realistic, you’ve just given birth to a project that you have been nurturing for a long time. You’ve taken care over every detail and carefully grown an idea from a small seed of an idea into a beautiful baby. Now that baby has been born you need to rest both your mind and body before starting again. We forget this and presume that we are capable of continually producing work, that we can always give to others, but before we can give, we must receive and replenish ourselves. You can’t pour out of an empty vessel.
We are more than artists; we are human beings. Being an artist doesn’t define who we are, it adds to who we are. Learning to care for and nurture ourselves before we create is essential for our daily living, our survival. If we look after ourselves will ultimately create better more defined work, and more importantly we will enjoy what we are creating. If we’re so tired that the joy of creating has gone, then there’s no point creating.
Part of the creation process takes us beyond ourselves and our capabilities; we channel the divine in order to create. Those artistic eureka moments bring both ease and exhaustion as we battle with our inadequacies and rejoice as we achieve our goals. The ease and exhaustion come as the divine pushes us beyond our capabilities, and we create something far greater than we imagined. The Bible tells us that God created the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. There’s a good lesson in this, that even the supreme creator took time out to rest.
The other issue is the loss of purpose after a project ends; suddenly we have time on our hands and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. All the drive and passion are laid down as we step back from the projection completion. It’s in these times that we need to remind ourselves of the ebb and flow of life, there are always busy and quiet times, and they follow a natural cycle. It’s important to recognise that these seasons will pass and a time to create will come around again. You haven’t lost your purpose; you are in the process of redefining your purpose whilst you wait for the next project.
The post creative blues should remind us that we have just achieved greatness in our creativity. They are signal to remind us to rest and recuperate, and to take stock of everything that we have achieved, but also that there will be further opportunities in the future. This is just the lull before we get back up and try something new, it’s not the end. If anything, the post creative blues remind us that the best is yet to come.
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