So I had a comment regarding creativity and pressure on my recent post about how much I am enjoying painting.
Pressure to create is the one thing that is always sure to stop me dead in my creative tracks. It's not like artists block or fear of bad feedback. It's like as soon as there are expectations, everything from ideas to desire dries right up (but not creative energy) and is replaced by a bad attitude. Even when the pressure is self-inflicted.
So how does one deal with this?
I can't say I have a sure fire cure, but I know what worked for me.
A few years ago, before we had kids, two of my brothers came to stay with James and me. We were all really creative, the four of us. We liked to draw and make clothes. And we all had bands and we were all in each others' bands. No Yes, Charles and Henri/Cooper, St. Lucien's Choir and Darger. All under one roof.
Just about every night, we sat around a bottle of wine and shared our latest songs with each other. We teased each other and picked on each other the way siblings do, but deep down, I knew their songs were amazing, mostly better than mine. Before long, we started getting a little competitive.
Eventually, I felt like I had to produce more and better material every day, plus contribute kick ass bass-lines on the spot at our almost nightly band practices. I was unable to paint anything that made me happy and my songs stopped representing me the way they should have.
So I took a vacation. I told myself didn't have to do anything. If the Spirit moved me to pick up my bass? I might. If a song wrote itself inside my head and I felt like picking up a pen to write it down? Maybe I would. But I didn't have to. I released myself from all pressure to create and I informed the boys of this as soon as the decision was made.
I can't say everything suddenly got better or turned out ok. James and I survived as a couple, my brothers made it out alive. But we went our separate ways for a while.
I eventually got back on my feet and James came out better than before.
So there it is. Make a conscious decision not to accept any pressure -even from yourself- and maybe you will get back to where you want to be.