Cornwall Ontario — Coming out of the Dead Zone is not as difficult as you may think. What you first need to recognize is the worst thing you can do is become over anxious about finding yourself there. It’s important to remain calm and relaxed, you may be stuck there but the way out is clear it’s just a matter of finding the way out that will work best for you. If you allow yourself to worry over finding yourself in the Dead Zone, the frustration will only add to the situation; instead detach yourself from the outcome, the beauty of this is when you come out you will be more creative than you were before you found yourself there. This may seem hard to believe but finding yourself in the creative dead zone is a normal healthy part of growing as a creative being. Look at the Dead Zone as a pause before the next big leap forward.
One of the reasons why you are in the Dead Zone is too much “Routine”, so the first logical action to take is to shake up your usual day to day activities with an injection of spontaneous fun. Call up a friend and take a walk in the park, play on the swings, go to the beach, take a long drive in the country to a small town that you have heard of but have never visited. The idea here is to stimulate your eyes, ears and nose with unfamiliar activities. Depending on your discipline take in a movie, theatre production, concert or art show that has an artist(s) that either you admire or have never heard of before. If ballet is your craft then see a performance of modern dance; if you are a realistic painter visit an abstract exhibition the idea here is to see something that you wouldn’t normally do yourself in order to peak your creative juices.
Another way of getting out of the rut is to call up a few like-minded friends or colleagues and spend the day doing what you all do best and play at your art. Don’t worry about the results or the outcome of the day at all the main idea is to have some fun and hash around ideas. You can also give yourself a challenge to meet such as so many pages to write, paintings to paint or songs to think up by a certain time and go for it. What you produce is less important than priming the creative pump. Even if what you produce will be filed under “G” for garbage the priming of the pump will start the idea machine in your head to fix, or refine what you have done.
If your bank account can handle it or you have some generous friends that live far away, take a trip and see what the other half are doing. There is nothing like seeing what artists from another region or country for that matter are producing and let go of the idea that we have to be unique and different to any other artist that we know living or dead. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just make it purple and yellow and call it your own.
Once you shake up the routine you will see that sooner rather than later the excitement to create will come back and the ideas will start coming in faster than you can write them down, but then that’s another problem. We will deal with that one another time.