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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eatin

Hitting the Wall

Whelp, what can I say? It was bound to happen sooner than later.

After spending months and months gathering up all of this momentum and constantly working one project after another I guess I didn't really stop to think about where I was headed next. I legitimately reached that moment where I hit an invisible wall and had no idea what I was doing anymore. This feeling was mainly directed my personal work , but I could tell I was losing steam as a whole. The motivation and ideas just weren't flowing as they had before.

It felt like everything was up in the air. All of a sudden I started feeling defeated, useless, stupid, and way too tired. Above all I began to feel genuinely scared. These questions would pop up in my head. Questions like "Maybe I shouldn't be doing this?" or "Maybe this was never really meant to work out?". These were the kind of thoughts that were swimming around my head for weeks, and I didn't really know what it would take to make them stop.

Fortunately! this wasn't my first rodeo. The "creative funk" and I have had a very wonky and ongoing relationship for well over a decade now. So I felt it was as good a time as ever to dedicate a post about some creative practices that have helped me through these periods and even end up putting some of those negative thoughts to good use.

To begin, I've found that in most cases I find myself thinking way too much while not really doing very much. Now don't get me wrong, thinking is very important! and I think it's fair to say that a lot of my favorite works have had a lot of thought put into them. I would even like to think that I put a lot of thought into my work as well. But the issue that I keep finding myself running into is thinking to the point that I never actually begin working on anything. I feel like I have no concept behind what I'm trying to do so what's the point of even starting to do anything? It feels like it would just be a waste of time. Thus begins a vicious cycle of thought that never really gets anywhere and just turns into a bigger waste of time because it's so forced and I come out of it feeling worse than I did before. It's kind of like a more exhausting form of procrastination. Nothing gets done at the end of the day but I feel like I ran a marathon in my head without anything to show for it.

I've discovered again and again that whether or not you have a concrete idea it's always best to be doing something creative as you're contemplating the next thought. Even if it's just something silly like poorly beatboxing and looping vocal lines into a guitar pedal, or drawing endless spirals in a notebook. Maybe you like to mindlessly noodle on an instrument or free associate in a journal. No matter what it is that helps you get in that creative vein the page is already there and open to capture the ideas when the inspiration strikes.

One medium I always surprise myself with is photography. If I force myself to go on a walk with a full roll of film or even just end up taking pictures around my apartment on a rainy day, something usually reaches out to me. I usually tend to find something new to capture differently than before, or I may even find a new subject all together. I begin to genuinely get lost in finding those new angles for a good handful of moments, and once i get back to reality I end up feeling a lot better and usually reloaded with some fresh ideas.

No matter what medium you're drawn to it's always good to just go with what feels right. For instance let's say you're working on a sketch and all of a sudden a song idea or some lyrics pop in your head WRITE THEM DOWN. Or you're reading a book and you get some beautiful imagery of a scene, take some time and sketch it or at least jot it down as an idea to save for later. I often run over to my ukulele when a little riff comes to my head just to try and work it out and get it in my fingers before it's lost.

It's really important to get things in a physical form before it's gone. I've begun to notice how many notebooks, journals, and old planners that i've collected over the years. each of them hold various sketches, scribbles, and ideas from different stages in my life. They're really great to have around and sort through when trying to spark up and old idea or feeling. Sometimes you don't really expect what might be worth revisiting when looking back on your previous ideas and revelations.

The last little bit I'd like to mention before wrapping up, and maybe the most important to touch on: Embracing The Struggle. Even if your dreams come true and you make it as an artist, writer, musician or what have you. That sense of struggle and stress is still going to be there, often times more so than before. But like with most things, keep on practicing and it'll get easier. Don't let those thoughts that are saying you can't do it and telling you to quit get the better of you. Instead embrace them and put in the best work that you can. When you look back it'll make what you created that much more worth it. Not only did you finish what you started, but you also managed to overcome a part of yourself.

Thank you for reading through these tips, I hope some of them are helpful! I guess a big reason I wanted to touch on these few practices is that I've heard recently that you shouldn't turn what you love into your work. They say eventually you'll begin hating what you loved in the first place. I think, this past month especially, I've gotten a taste of what that feels like. On one hand I had the most clients I've ever had and that feels so awesome and encouraging, but on the other hand all of my creativity feels like it's being drained.

Thankfully I've come to understand that this transition is still very new to me, a growing pain for sure. Writing down and sending out these tricks was not only reaffirming that I still have more work to do for myself, but that there is also a way to find balance going forward. Sure pursuing your passion is a huge balancing act and a risk, but there truly is nothing I would rather do.

I chose this photo because it was the last thing I drew and I haven't finished yet.

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