What is a Slump
What is a slump? I think that this is an important thing to define before we look at how to get out of it. I would define a slump as a time where you can’t find the motivation to engage in your artistic pursuits. Notice that this is different from suffering from writer’s block; where you can find the motivation, but the words or whichever form your art take won’t come. No, a slump is where you just aren’t feeling it even if you can do it. There are three ways to look at this and a I think both are valid depending on your situation.
The first one is simply that you are being lazy. For whatever reason, you have allowed yourself to be distracted from what you should be doing by other things that you think you would rather be doing, but you know that little twinge of guilt that you are feeling, that is the thing telling you that you know what you should be doing and you need to get back to it. This isn’t always easy, sometimes you have formed bad habits that you are now going to have to break, but the good news is that it is within your power to do that if your art is worth it to you.
Adulting: Welcome to the Battle
The next answer is that you are adulting and that is tough for a lot of people to do now. News flash, art is work. Now, it should be work that you enjoy and love but there will be times when it makes you want to pull your hair out also. So, welcome to work. If you are going to do your art seriously, you need to develop a work ethic for it. In my previous posts on How I Write a Story, Word Counts, and Who do you Write For, I touched on this a little and what I am about to say may seem contradictory to some, but it holds. You need to make a commitment to your art and that means that you need to make time for it. These days, life is full of distractions and things that we could be doing, but so little of it really matters. Cellphone games don’t matter, twitter doesn’t matter unless you are gaining something from it, same with Facebook, TV shows, and video games. In the grand scheme of things, none of those things are really going to have a lasting impact on your life and the lives of others beyond the time that they devour. So, put your phone down, turn off the TV and get back to work.
Now for the third and probably least talked about and tricky reason, maybe you need a break. Yes, that contradicts what I said above but let’s look at it. Most people look at artists and think that they got it made, but they really don’t see what goes into their work. Most of us work a full-time job or part-time in addition to our full-time artwork and our family life. Even those that have gotten to the point where they can make a living off their art alone, are usually working full-time plus to keep up and to continue to promote their work. Then you add on that for an artist, there isn’t really punching out of the clock and going home from work. We’re artist, it isn’t just what we do, it is who we are and that means it is something that we are doing always. So, sometime, taking a break or a vacation is what your mind and body need and that is why you can’t find your motivation. When you get to that point, that is when it is time to take a break and do something to relax and recharge. But, remember that this is work and that when you are done recharging, you need to get back to it.
So, if you find yourself in a slump, run down the checklist:
Have I formed bad habits that are keeping me away from what I should be doing?
Do I need to make a schedule?
Am I being an adult about this and taking my art seriously?
Does my art really mean that much to me?
Am I burnt out?
How is my health?
How is my Family?
And then do what you need to do to get back to your art.
I’ve been there and I’ve dealt with all three of these kinds of slumps over the years. The best thing that you can do for the first two is find a place where you can escape the distractions and get back to work. Most of the time, once you start moving again and knock the rust off, you’ll be fine. And, if you need a vacation, take one. But remember, you are always an artist and you are the only person that can take that away from you.
Publications by Me
If you would like to read one of my books, follow any of the links below and enjoy. If you like what you read, please leave a review when you are finished reading it. Reviews help me to know your thoughts and help others know if a book is for them. Thank you.
Account of the Change Series: