I haven’t created a significant amount of art, or anything other than writing, for the last nine months. So, this is what a slump feels like.

Now that it’s been long enough to see clearly what happened, it’s obvious I did it to myself. I took the joy out of creating so I quit and balked like a three year old at spinach.

My mistake came in two little words: have to. Having to do something turns it into a chore, a drudge, something to be endured. I turned my art and the very act of creating, making things, into a have-to-do by setting expectations that, in hindsight, were unreasonable. Then what? I set myself free by deciding to make whatever I wanted out of what was on hand.

It was incredible! In just a few hours, I felt the old joy of making something with my own hands come back. Rummaging through my collection of supplies and materials was intoxicating and my imagination came back to life. The old me, the one who hated to stop working to eat, is back.

Now, I’m working on a crochet book proposal for my publisher and have a modest selection of one of a kind Halloween things in my shop at Etsy as well as continuing with several magazine article assignments and planning new paintings. During the slump and subsequent invigorating burst of creativity, I learned several lessons but the most important for me is to be careful with setting goals. Having goals can move you forward but not if they stifle the root of your creativity.

Let me know your thoughts and if you’ve dealt with the same issues