I often find myself riding a sine curve through life. How to explain…
Consider the x-axis (horizontal) as time stretching into infinity and the y-axis (not shown here, vertical) as a measure of positive or negative (successful or unsuccessful) creativity. As time progresses, I am swept through periods of creative success and failure, always hovering around the median line of equilibrium.
As an artist, my creativity follows this sine curve. I will go for a week without rest to complete a project, all the while starting new works and recording inspirations constantly. At the height of the curve my creativity is insatiable, almost to the point of detriment to actual progress. I am overwhelmed by ideas! The world around me teems with inspiration and while ideas flow freely, it is next to impossible to stop and focus on just one.
Conversely, when my sine curve dips below equilibrium, I can be thrown into bouts of boredom, restlessness, insatiability, frustration and severe lack of motivation. It is during these periods, despite the multiple projects sitting half-completed on my desk, that I find myself watching whole seasons of Arrested Development. I recognize what is happening, yet to pull myself out of my dip of boredom and lack of inspiration is beyond my ability.
Soon, however, the motivation comes back. I finish the season of Arrested Development, and instead of starting season 2, I think of alternate plot endings and start writing them down. The duvet cover on my bed that I’ve grown so familiar with (after a whole season of tv) seems too simple and I find myself sketching designs to alter it. I go through my bookshelf and select a book I’ve yet to read. And I read it. Gradually, aided by the time axis, I pull myself back above equilibrium.
Yet equilibrium is where I am most definitively productive. Right between creative ineptitude and over-stimulation, I find I am able to think most critically while maintaining the stamina and interest to complete more difficult projects.
And thus, my creative cycle played out yet again, my inspiration and abilities continue to grow and expand. Recognizing the cycle has helped me to both overcome and accept it: If I recognize that I am in a state of boredom and am feeling uninspired, simply acknowledging my place on the curve helps put things into perspective. No, I haven’t lost my passion for art, I’m just at the bottom of the curve. Likewise, I have learned that in a time of intensive creativity I must write everything down. Notebooks overflow, and when I find myself looking up from the bottom of the curve again I have projects to assign myself to get the ball rolling.
Creativity is organic; inspiration is everywhere.