There is little doubt that almost all of us experience life as a series of cycles. Some a short; some are longer. Day cycles, Moon cycles, seasonal cycles, annual cycles, stages of life cycles.
Very few are the people who keep going at 100% intensity, day after day after day.
Reflections and ripples...
Creativity; Is It IN Your Blood?
In most cases, the "creative spark" is something people simply have, and then they develop whatever innate talents they may have been gifted with, from nature's side.
One of the things we often hear from the artists we work with at the Red Dragonfly is that they simply "MUST create." There's all this "stuff" inside them, and it must get out!
And I understand that, being a writer and occasional artist.
But output certainly doesn't come at a consistent pace. Which can turn into a great challenge if you're in a creative field "for a living."
As a writer, for example, I have often gone through long "drought" periods where I could hardly come up with an original thought at all, while at other times being able to create a half-dozen complete articles daily.
A driftwood landscape
Even if creativity is in your blood, whenever you start something new; a new career, a new project, there's inevitably a period of initial enthusiasm which fuels you.
But how long does that last? How long will it be before the "shine" wears off... and will you still have the enthusiasm to keep going, after that? Or will you — at least — still have enough enthusiasm to continue to do a good job? Or was the whole thing purely the product of initial infatuation, with nothing to back it up?
In the case of artists, that's not always an easy question to answer. Some artists can be pretty fickle, and unless the "mood" of a project remains "just so," they will lose enthusiasm and not be able to finish.
Whether we want to call that "being a prima donna" or not, fact remains we've seen that happen quite often. There simply is no keeping up the initial enthusiasm. Whatever joy we may have had initially starts to wear off, and what was once the spectacularly inspired becomes... routine.
Leaves on the beach...
Close to Home: Consider Steemit
Just consider a project we are all familiar with, like our own Steemit community.
As I write these words, we have been keeping the Red Dragonfly blog here for about 16 months.
Just like our own "output level" has waxed and waned along the way, so we have watched lots of people come here, engage in a flurry of enthusiastic activity, only to suddenly stop and suddenly vanish from sight again.
Very few are the people who have come onto Steemit, started blogging, and steadfastly maintained a strong level of high quality content, day after day; week after week; month after month.
The names of the people whose content cycles through our feed on a daily basis are quite different from the names we were seeing a year ago... except for a small "core group" who are still here.
And so it is, with almost any form of artistic endeavor or creativity. History will tell you that even great artists through the ages suffered through fallow periods. And some — even though famous — actually produced the majority of their body of work in the course of a few years, not an entire lifetime.
And that's nothing to be ashamed of!
The tides, they come and go...
And "Keeping Up Our Enthusiasm?"
That's actually a surprisingly difficult question!
One thing we can do is to be aware of how it feels to be approaching a state of burnout; that point where something that has always been our joy is starting to feel more like a chore. We see this, sometimes, in artists who commit to having their work in a lot of shows. They tell us that "it isn't FUN anymore."
Often, we can tell by looking at their work, too. It may still "look good," but a certain inspiration is lacking; the work has become more "mechanical" and the wow-factor that attracted us, in the first place, seems to be slipping away.
Not long ago, one of our otherwise fairly prolific painters just stopped in mid-stream and shared that he was going to go back to his first love, which was writing and performing music.
Part of keeping your enthusiasm includes the right to quit — hereunder being aware that you aren't just creating for other people, you're creating for yourself.
And if you're no longer feeling "it," STOP!
That's also nothing to be ashamed of!
Thanks for reading!
The Red Dragonfly is an independent alternative art gallery located in Port Townsend, WA; showcasing edgy and unique contemporary art & handmade crafts by local and worldwide artists. All images are our own, unless otherwise credited. Where applicable, artist images used with permission.