Art is thinking and production. Art is theory and practice. Sometimes there are seasons of production of art, where we get stuck to produce or even to conceptualize art. I have found myself starring into the blank page hoping that something will be triggered or inspire some form of creative process. Sometimes I do self-sabotage and stick in the rut of not making art for a while. That’s is not good. Because when that happens I feel like I am not being benign. There are many reasons we can attribute to the ‘stuckness’ we encounter when we need to make art. So to avoid getting stuck writing out this piece let me whip out some reasons that may hinder you from making art.
Obsessive Self Doubt
Not every creative person is bold and audacious. But every creative feat is bold and audacious. To be able to stretch your neck to produce any creative work is brave. I have seen and experienced doubt many times. Doubt produces a shattered view of self. As an artist if you have a shattered view of self it will certainly affect the art you produce. But doubt is also an indication that there is a present idea to be tackled that needs a bit of convincing to be handled. So doubt is not absence of the idea of art. Doubt is generally aimed at ability or capacity to execute the idea at hand. The strongest form of doubt is not directed towards the art but towards the artist. The ‘reasonable’ whispers in our heads may amplify our inabilities even in the face of glaring opportunities. Obsessive self-doubt may make of you a masterpiece of non-action. You have to learn to bully yourself into the action of making art in spite of every thing else. You have to realize the only permission you need to be an artist and make art comes squarely from you.
Lack of Intentional Planning
Most creative people I know have this self-belief that they are able to plan on their feet. Seating down to draft a course to many artists seems to be a waste of time. Planning seemingly always looks like tedious, boring and linear. Many creative people do not thrive on being linear, they love being easy and ‘opening’ up to the whirlpool of ideas that stream into their heads. Planning may look linear but without it there cannot be clarity of execution. A planning creative is not a boring creative. A planning artist is actually a productive artist. Planning lends structure to the playful pursuits of art. The proverbial scribbling on a napkin is part of planning. Notebooks are an essential ‘technology’ for planning. You write down, refine, give a timeline, execute, erase, and write again these are the activities of making art. You need to be astute on the plan to produce art. Spontaneity does not abhor planning. Regular planning that produces art is actually the bedrock of spontaneity of art. More mediocre craftsmen have achieved much with planning than many genius craftsmen have achieved with a genius hunch of art.
Un-clarified Rituals of Discipline
Close to planning is discipline. Masters of art are disciplined practitioners. They value themselves and what they produce so much that they ritualized themselves through disciplines to produce art. Rituals are repetitive. They may look monotonous. But rituals form Discipline. It may be the regular morning set times to sketch, paint, code, or write. Discipline induces ‘measurability’ and accountability, even if it is accountability to self. It triggers quantity that eventually graduates into quality. If our discipline is whimsical and not clear, it lends to us that our art or creativity will equally portray the same. We need to clarify the rituals that breed the discipline to make art. Planning may take some time and tweaking but it surely does pay. For a long time I was unable to blog and write. My writing was lagging behind and as it lagged I became guilty to the extent that the impostor bug kicked in. I managed to muscle up long after and planned out my next ten blogs. Just ten! That reinvigorated my writing and I got back on track again.
Insufficient Skill Upgrade
It is impossible to make art without a set of skill(s). A skill is the ability needed to give an idea a chance to become concrete. Skills are important in the making of art. But more important is the upgrade of the same skills. In the making of art it is important to have a philosophy of mastery of skill sets. As you upgrade and master a skill you also trigger agility. Agility enables easy execution. It saves time. Sometimes when we receive briefs to produce or make art, the brief may have tasks or expectations that make a demand on a side of our skill we may not have explored. I have seen panic and failure ensue when assignments or projects stall because of poor execution facilitated by a skill that lacks expertise. The tendency to always embark on assignments that restrict us to the comfortable side of our skill sets may eventually be detrimental when the skill is challenged. Side gigs that have no threat or deadlines of execution may be the best at practicing skills beyond our common usage of them.
There may be a lot more reasons why execution of art may be hindered. These four are just the beginning. Make it your purpose to go beyond obsessive self-doubt must be approached it with grit. Plan and map out your journey of making art and you will scale and bring out works that will be fulfilling. Stock yourself around rituals that produce disciplines of art making and these will make it easier for you to look forward to making art. It will dispel the fear of monotony because it will be value driven. Finally make it your habit to take the adventure to explore the fringe of your current skill sets it will bring efficacy and boldness for you to make art on lanes where many absent themselves to race.
Last modified: March 4, 2022