When You Hit a Creative Slump and What You Can Do
Something about winter can make it feel like you are squeezing your creativity out of a rock. Maybe it feels like your brain is naturally mimicking the barren trees, or the 4pm sunsets make you feel sleepy all the time, or maybe it’s just plain too cold to do anything!
Everyone is different, but for me, winter tends to be when my creativity takes the time to ferment. It's not that it's "gone," like I once thought; rather, it's quietly gathering energy to burst open when it's ready, usually in the spring.
The year I experienced my first creative slump in my business, I thought I'd die. I had major anxiety. How was I supposed to have a business making jewelry if all my creativity had seeped into the frozen grounds of winter? I was worried it would never come back. That I had fooled myself. That it had been a terrible mistake to think I had a chance at making a living being creative. I mean, really, what kind of jewelry designer didn't have any new ideas for jewelry designs?
Many months later, with a deadline two weeks away, all the switches in my brain suddenly flipped and my creativity was back! Hallelujah, I thought. I'm not broken! My creativity continued to be relatively generous for the rest of the year until January hit. Then, like clockwork, it went dry again.
All this happened a few years ago. And it happens to varying degrees every year. Working through all these creative dry spells I have learned this: creativity has cycles, just like the seasons, and I needed to not only accept them, but also to respect and embrace them. I needed to work with those cycles so that creativity felt welcome in this home that was my body.
Now, another thing that I learned is that despite creativity quieting down for a time, I still needed to feed it, check in on it, and care for it. That meant sitting down to work despite my lack of ideas. It meant finding ways to do work that would support the ideas when they were ready to come forth. It meant creating structure, rhythm, and discipline, even when all I really wanted to do was throw a tantrum and give up.
So on this cold January Vermont day, when the sun has not even peeped, I write this to remind you (and myself) how cyclical our lives and everything in them are, including creativity. It's funny and slightly ironic, but seeing how creativity is truly cyclical is actually inspiring to me.
Take this time to reflect on the year past, to vision the year ahead, and to dig deep within to start to draw out those new creations. It's a time that is slower, that requires patience, and that always ends in a spring full of blooms.
So for all you creatives out there (and whether you know it or not, all of you are creative), remember to hold your creativity gently, with care and tenderness, even when you aren't even sure it's there. Because, trust me, it will come thundering back when you least expect it.
"And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous."
As always, you can find me behind the scenes in my studio on Instagram and Facebook.
PS. You can "Drop a Hint" to your loved ones about which piece of jewelry you'd love as a gift! Go to my website, find your favorite piece, and click the "Drop a Hint" button. It will send a sweet and funny email to your love one letting them know which piece you've had your eye on. Partners, parents, and loved ones always appreciate knowing what you'd like when it's time for birthdays or anniversaries!