Where Did My Muse Go?

The other day, I wrote a post on my blog about losing my gumption, losing my energy, losing my muse. I felt alone, more than a little worried, and a lot frustrated.

The comments I received made me start thinking about what I could do to get out of this slump, and how I really am not alone — who of us hasn’t hit a rough patch in our creative careers?

There are various reasons you may feel you’re in a slump.

Sometimes losing your muse is as simple as getting bored. If you feel like you’re stagnating, look around you for classes to take. No classes in your area? Hit the local book store and see what’s new in books and magazines. One of my favorite new books is Kerry Bogert‘s “Totally Twisted” — it’s fresh and eye-catching. Or hit Etsy and search the many jewelry and bead-making tutorials.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve lost your muse because you’re trying to do too much! In this case, perhaps fall back on tried and true designs, stocking up on earrings for the Christmas season, or making lampwork spacers. You’ll get satisfaction from getting work done, but you won’t overtax your mind by constantly bombarding it.

Finally, you may just need a vacation. Everyone needs a break now and then, and artists are no exception. Give yourself permission to literally stop and smell the roses. Go out and garden. Read a good book. Sit in a coffee shop and people watch. Finish that knitting project you started and abandoned. Do anything that has nothing to do with beads.

I hope one of these ideas helps you in some way, and I hope you’ll make comments about how you personally get out of your ruts, funks, and blue spots. I know that writing about mine on my blog helped me a great deal, and I’m taking some of my own advice from this post.

Whatever you choose to do, create in good health!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry at http://www.lorianderson.net/ and writes at Pretty Things and An Artist’s Year Off.

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17 Comment

  1. Katherine Thomas
    April 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I enjoyed this post. I think I lose my muse when I experience setbacks with my art, when it's not going onto the paper the way I envisioned it would. I get frustrated and tell myself I'm not an artist after all… I still haven't found a good cure for that one!

  2. mairedodd
    April 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

    great post lori – it is worriesome when ones muse takes a vacation that we weren't notified about… for me, it depends – finding a challenge is always helpful for me… it gives me a purpose and gets things going… thankfully abs has one monthly and now erin at treasures found is doing the same… i keep a jewelry journal where i jot down notes, ideas, sketches… when i feel spent, i can go back through it and see if there is something that i can develop… your ideas are wonderful and you did a great job on those spacers!

  3. Kerry
    April 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Awe, Lori, thanks for mentioning Totally Twisted. I am so honored you find it your current favorite and that it helps you when you are feeling creativily frustrated.

  4. Alice
    April 22, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Lori, your article hit a chord with me as I've been in a slump for a while now. And the reason is there are so many things going on right now that I do not even have a spark of creativity in me.

    Thanks for the great article!

  5. Michelle Mach
    April 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Good advice! I think as creative people we tend to panic–"My muse is gone and not coming back!" Doing something completely different, whether it's a new class or just weeding the garden, is often enough to get the creative juices flowing again.

  6. SummersStudio
    April 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Good thoughts here. I recently made a decision to focus only on making beads and give the pots a rest. That's freed up my creativity enormously. But there are always times, no matter what I do, I just can't seem to find a fresh idea. When that happens it usually means I'm working too hard. I grant myself a day with a book, usually in bed under the covers. It is my little bit of decadent indulgence.

  7. Eve
    April 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    So I'm not alone in these slumps. Well, what works for me sometimes is doing exactly what you said, try doing something not related to beading. If I put my entire kit away, I start missing it and scratching like a fiend to get back to beading. haha 😀

  8. Beadwright
    April 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Great post and thanks for sharing your feelings. For any one close to Newport, OR. this Saturday I am teaching my Layered Flatwork at Ney cottage Beads. I don't normally do that but you mentioned classes to get back into the swing of things.
    Have a great day

  9. Jenn
    April 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I read your Funk-y post and I've been storing up my thoughts for a response… and you summed up exactly what I was thinking. I find when I'm dry creatively, it's because I'm doing too much. I need to do something opposite to what I've been focused on and take a break.

    I'm also amazed that you're able to do so much when you're in chronic pain. I suffer from chronic migraines (2-3 days each week) and my creativity slithers away on high pain days…but those are the days when I do simple things. I don't do the artsy stuff. I do the simple things that appeal to the masses. The artsy gets saved for the days when my creativity is raining out my head and my fingers can't keep up with the ideas.

    I digress, as I was saying, I'm amazed that you get so much done creatively when you're in constant pain! Like one of the other commenters said, you need to give yourself credit for the amount of work you do accomplish.

  10. Spirited Earth
    April 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    great post..it's a reminder that everyone hits these creative rough spots..you have some good advice on how to shake things up..

  11. Lisa
    April 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Great post, Lori. I'm my own worst enemy in the creative slump area…when there isn't work that pays the bills, I fret and the muse vanishes…when the work rolls in, I feel guilty taking time off for Joolz. And I'm guilty of too many directions/projects started. Wanting to try new things and feeling like I'm already too scattered in my items…it's a battle.

  12. Marbella Jewelry Designs
    April 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    great post! right now i think i have too much to do and get so overwhelmed that i end up doing nothing at all. i think i'll take a little break.

  13. TesoriTrovati
    April 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I am actually not in good health right now and it is extremely frustrating. I have so many jewelry projects begging to be done but no energy. I guess that is my biggest frustration right now. I hope to feel better soon and get back into it. So many creative ideas swirling that i just don't know how to turn them off! Thanks for sharing Lori. Enjoy the day! Erin

  14. Jeannie
    April 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Lori, this is a great post! I'm not only in a slump, I'm at a crossroads. There are things I need to move away from, but don't feel I'm finished. I know I'm not alone.
    Yours In Good Health, jeannie

  15. Malin de Koning
    April 23, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Hi Lori, I agree with your suggestions on how to get away and find inspiration. Taking a break, gardening, friends, Etsy, taking a class or any new or odd experience works for me.

    And I also would like to share a very good way of thinking about feelings of frustration, that I learned when I was 19. An art teacher told me that when you feel the most frustrated and unsatisfied about your own work you are just about to step up on the next step of the stairs of higher level of skill and artistery. You can SEE where you are heading but you are not capable just yet to DO it. So it is actually a sign of your own development when you feel frustrated!

    Another thing I came up with myself a few years later, when I felt nothing was happening in my painting, was that I tried to paint as UGLY as I could. I would for instance choose the LEAST pleasant color combination. The whole idea was that I would challenge what I already know works. I would generally think the painting would be very awful, but very often it turned out really interesting, at least in parts, and I could use that new "knowledge" from that moment on. I still use this method in many aspects of life. And also when I do jewellery. It is a way of daring to not do perfect. And I believe that experimenting leads you forward in life. Not the least is it very much FUN!
    All my best, Malin

  16. Kella
    April 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I want to thank you for this post, you have hit the nail on so many points regarding my recent slump which I am slowly pulling myself out of.

  17. Shannon
    April 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Great post! I had to take a break from beading because I could not come up with anything new so I am trying other things, crochet, soldering and working with my metal clay. These things have actually sparked new beady ideas. Thanks for showing me that even great artists get into a slump!

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