Friday, 17 May 2013

Creative block

Creative Block essentially refers to being stumped for an idea. Often it relates to a person involved in a particular creative endeavour, like an artist, an advertising person, or a student in an art class for instance. So ensues the struggle with what to do: What will I paint, what will I say, how will I make a start? Time restrictions can exacerbate this situation, as does the pressure to perform and the self-doubt that grows with each passing moment. There are a variety of techniques and tips that can be useful in getting the creative process underway.

Part of the issue stems from creating for someone else, rather than one’s self — the need to produce something that can appreciated by another person. If it was just about satisfying ourselves, the process of ‘creating’ may not be so daunting. Self-confidence and belief are powerful motivators through which works can be created that allow us, and also others to benefit from.   

At times I’ve struggled with blocks, even Lego occasionally. I remember sitting at home as a youngster struggling to develop ideas for my first comic strip — it was called Supa Dropout. There were no monetary considerations here — it was purely for fun. Still, the angst to come up with quality ideas and drawings was often torturous. Over the years, the drawings and the ideas became more consistent as confidence in my own ability grew. To my lingering disappointment, my dream of becoming a cartoonist was never attained. To this day, I believe I could have been a successful daily cartoonist.

Similarly, as I evolved through a career in advertising I maintained a firm self-belief that I could consistently deliver strong, well-executed ideas on a par, if not better, than a lot of my ‘higher-profile’ counterparts.

Yes, an idea might take me a while sometimes, but I can’t recall ever thinking I couldn’t do this or that. Today, inspiration appears quickly in the form of not just one but many directions. Ironically, it is turning off the ideas-tap that can be a problem. I find concepts and inspiration occur without much effort at all and in such volume that I need to archive them as a future resource.

In this context, Creative Block isn’t really a problem for me. The block I suffer from concerns the ‘creative potential’ that is blocked. This has been an all-too-common occurrence in my personal, creative life, and a nemesis I long to leave far behind. From cartooning that eluded me as a career; from designing ads and graphics for agencies and clients that stifled creativity and satisfaction; to inventions and projects shelved for yet another day. From here derives the yearning to realise an outlet where both financial and creative fulfillment can be attained, and a future full of ambition and potential can be utilised to the max.

It is this type of creative block that afflicts my work not just in the regard to development and resource restrictions, but the ability to 'get it out there' and in front of the people that matter. It’s not what you know, but who you know; not what you can do, but what someone says you can do, that blocks progress, ambition and opportunity.

The path and direction can appear clear at some points, but at other times obstacles materialise in an instant as if to deliberately block progress and prevent the chosen path from being travelled. There’s no guide here to refer to. Interestingly, the path behind seems darks and irretrievable, so I can’t go back. There’s not much benefit standing still, so at this point I suppose it’s a case of just getting over the block and pushing forward.