“The best cure for a dry spell is simply to keep at it. Good things are happening, soon to be revealed.” Eleanor Blair (from The Painter’s Keys)
Those first thoughts of panic when you find yourself in a dry spell can take over and consume you. What if you are never inspired again? What if this is it? Your artistic life is toast! You’re done. All the art in your soul has dried up and you will have to find something else to do. The love of your life has walked out the door. The cold hand of panic is about to get a firm grip on your throat. Everything you do is dry, dry, dry! You can go to the nearest bar and get stone cold drunk or you can sit down and take a deep breath. While taking that deep breath, check out what others suggest. Or wait until the hangover is over, then check out these suggestions.
Graham Mathews has several suggestions in an article for Artpromotivate. Number six on his list is to experiment with a different style or medium. Following this recommendation frequently leads to new discoveries that can change the course of your entire artistic direction. How many artists have you read about whose experiments in times of drought have resulted in the biggest breakthroughs of their career? If something is not working, that is usually a signal from the artist within that you are not listening. Trying something unfamiliar forces the outer artist to stop and pay attention to the inner one. A new direction can’t be put on automatic. It requires an effort on the part of the artist.
Another technique for breaking a dry spell is to return to original inspiration. PsychCentral.com has a blog post on creative block. Author Margarita Tartakovsky suggests stashing away anything that inspires you. Tartakovsky says tucking away interesting thoughts, quotations, films, ideas that strike your fancy can be a source for watering the drought. My favorite thing to do is collect images from magazines. I’ll tear out anything that even remotely looks interesting and put it in an inspirational images folder. Over the years, I have ended up with a number of folders. Sometimes I get a laugh from wondering why I chose certain images. But it causes me to rethink why I found those images inspirational in the first place.
Not giving in to panic is the best first step to getting through dry spells. Once you make that decision, trying some new things could be fun. It may keep you out of the bar. At the very least it will occupy your hands so they don’t continue moving up toward your neck region. While the hands are occupied, your inspirational wells are free to start working again. Once the wells are working, the water will start flowing. But if all else fails, you can try a rain dance. You never know. It may open up a new career for you as a dancer.