Distractions. This is the time of year when they swarm like moths under a porch light. School is in full swing with homework, tests, and essays piling up. After school, there are football games to attend, homecoming, drama club, and lets not forget the part time job that pays for gas and movies. Then there's Halloween just around the corner, followed quickly by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year. On top of that, there's relationships to maintain: friends, family, and your current crush. They all demand your attention.
How do you focus on art when your brain is full of everything else?
Sometimes, you don't. Not very well, anyway. When your brain and body are maxxed out, your creativity well runs dry. No worries. Even though it may feel like the end of your artistic career, the well will refill. Until it does, try not to stress about the mess you're making when you mean to make art. And don't pitch any of it in the trash. Keep every sketch and every speck of writing. You never know. Later on, it may spark great art and stories.
If you're a person driven to create, then you'll create for the rest of your life. If you're like me, you wish you could be on fire every day. You want ideas to erupt onto your paper or canvas, and flow like hot lava into highly polished products. But no one, not even Da Vinci or Shakespeare, produced brilliance all the time.
So give yourself a break. Accept that life is full of expected and unexpected distractions. When they interfere with creative output, hush those critical voices. Tell the naggers your muse is on vacation. She'll return when she's good and ready.
In the meantime, don't stop trying. One of the greatest tools an artist or writer can have is discipline. Learning to work through dry spells is a skill you'll never regret. Find time to create, even if it's the last fifteen minutes in your day. And if all you can manage is jotting and sketching in your journal, that's enough. You'll know when it's time to dive back into work that really makes your blood sing.
Today's art is a Florida Halloween scene. Our yards are full of tiny lizards. These days they're soaking up the last warmth before winter sets in.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist. And creatures, always creatures. I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti of Dunham Lit.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor