Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Creative Muse - she is a wild creature

by Carol H.



At the beginning of the year I found myself in a bit of a creative funk. I was bored with my photographs and I found my mixed media pieces lacking . . . something. There was talk on Facebook about a Flickr group that sounded promising. The group offered a weekly challenge or prompt, and there were rules associated with participation. The challenge image had to be taken in the week of that particular challenge. It had to be posted by Sunday evening. To participate in the contest feed, the image had to be posted to that feed also, of a certain size, and you needed to vote for 2 other participant’s images by a certain timeline. The group consists of many talented, kind, and supportive people. Much to my surprise, a couple of my images even won 1st place in the contest feed. And so, you may ask, did participating in this group help pull me out of my creative funk? Actually no. Unfortunately there were too many times when the challenge theme was uninspiring to me and I found myself taking pictures just to satisfy a prompt by the deadline. I was actually feeing bad about the images I took. Perhaps you have found yourself in a similar situation with a class you signed up for or a group you joined. Instead of inspiring my creative muse, I was suffocating her with all the rules I took on when I joined that group. I had forgotten that my muse does not live by a calendar. She doesn’t own a watch. She dances to the surface to the beat of her own drum. She is a wild creature and, as with all wild creatures, she cannot be controlled or confined.

We all experience moments when we feel uninspired. We think our creative muse has left us. But I’m coming to realize that she hasn’t gone anywhere. I think our creativity goes through a chrysalis stage from time to time and there are no actions, rules, prompts, or groups that can rush this process. We must be patient and know that our creativity is evolving and will emerge again when we quiet ourselves long enough for our muse to reveal herself once more.

Have you experienced something similar from a class or a group you’ve participated in? Did you stick with it? Did it help or hinder your process? We’d love you hear your thoughts.


 
PS -- the images posted on the FOL Flickr site, the Flickr phoneography site, and the images tagged #focusingonlife #focusingonlife on Instagram continue to inspire! Many thanks to everyone for sharing your beautiful work and continuing to support FOL.


 

15 comments:

Karen Main said...

Carol my muse has been dormant for a very long time. I have been drawn to various mini projects at times in my life, Christmas crafts etc. then I began playing with photos, videos and slideshows. I have just started a blog to give me a platform to share my creativity and I am only now discovering myself and this art form. I recently took part in a photoaday challenge to get me out with the camera every day. It has opened me up more than I could have hoped for. i just look back over the months pictures and can now see my own style developing. i was stimulated by others in our group and many of them were very happy to share tips and tricks. I am so excited to participate in more of these group photography activities.

kelly said...

it is always such a comfort to know that other photographers go through a creative slump. and i totally agree...lots of rules = no mojo. :) but i love how you put it - the chrysalis stage. so much hope in that.

Katie said...

i found that my mojo revs up with each new season, but by the end of that season it begins to slump. i'm finding that to be the case right now. hoping that with school beginning in just a few weeks that i can be revved up again. i've made peace with the ups and downs of inspiration and have learned patience from it. it is nice to be reminded that other folks have this same issue as me.

Cathy H. said...

Seems we all need a break now and then, including our creative side. I like the idea of not pushing, just letting things rest.

heyjudephotography said...

I do like what you say about not trying to force our creativity, although when we're in a slump we want to get out of it as fast as we can! Patience, patience. You asked about classes that just 'didn't do it for us' Yes, I've taken two like that. I tried to stick with it for a time, but just stopped. At this point, I'm looking for TRUE classes, that teach me something, that push me to the next level, that make me do something with my art that I haven't done before. Now that I know what I'm looking for, it'll be easier to "stick with it" when I'm in one!

Jeanne said...

Love your shots! Especially the last one which is just amazing. I too have experienced this... and being 65, if i find myself in a situation that is not inspiring... I just dump it.... I am much too old to be wasting my time with something that does not float my boat... much too much out there which gets me all enthused. just keep working on seeking it out. Totally agree though that there are some down times, and just journal my way through it and let my brain rest. Great post!

Viv Halliwell said...

Glad you posted this Carol my creativity seems to come in fits and starts at the moment...A flurry followed by inactivity... But I am like you learning to take every day as it comes...certainly my mixed media has really disappeared ...



Dotti said...

I love your butterfly! Beautifully captured. Yes, ebb and flow, just like the tide ... just like life. I think that's how it was meant to be. For me, though, I need a certain amount of discipline or it becomes much more ebb than flow. Now, that doesn't mean that everything I do is inspired ... far from it ... but it keeps me moving in the right direction.

radish38 said...

Time tables can be inspirationally limiting. Shooting for you has produced good work for you.

Karin said...

I am SO with you, Carol. I've let two BP classes flounder when I thought they would motive/inspire. But like a wise woman I know says, "one day at a time, my friend. One day at a time." :-)

Carol said...

I am just always so struck with the fact that muses are personal. Your creativity depends on all the standard things plus your health, your mood,your last night's sleep, your environment (this recent heat sure killed me for a few days), and a myriad of other thing that have absolutely nothing to do with art - and then there's art. Just try to make the commitment - you are in it for the long haul, and then bring your patience - good things are worth waiting for.
And BTW I have had two course that disappointed, but most inspire me just by being exposed to different things. I am totally a photographer, but my teacher always suggests trying to paint or draw or something else just to learn about color - and then that lesson ends up giving me a break and teaching me more at the same time.

terriporter said...

Oh, this has happened to me so many times! Being in a slump, wanting to be inspired, and signing up for a class or a group to try to find the inspiration I'm looking for. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. Thankfully, sooner or later, that creative muse is back and knowing that will happen helps to get through the slump. Your butterfly shots are amazing! Makes me want to head over to Butterfly Wonderland to see if I can find "her" there.

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

I know exactly what you mean. I don't believe I've ever kept up with or even finished every class I've started because of going off on a tangent. Some would call that that undisciplined but I won't be bound up. Life is too short. Freeeeeedom!

Carol said...

ROXI - yOU GO GIRL!

Deb Medina said...

I feel the same way. I recently took a class which I wasn't expecting to consist of mainly daily prompts. I was first taken aback by how many others came up with pictures so quickly. it made me feel pressure not creative. Baed on the number of wonderful pictures i enjoyed looking at, it was obvious not everyone felt the same.. I finally just gave myself permission not to join in for the sake of joining in and just to enjoy what others were able to capture.

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