This week I realised I'd been in a creative slump for quite a long time. I had been writing and collaging in my journal and writing occasional poetry, but I had no source or outlet for constant inspiration.
I used to feel inspired all the time when I first started this blog and in my early teen years. I was still so young that there was no pressure to be chasing success. I wrote and blogged mostly for the sake of writing and blogging. I didn’t feel weighed down by anything. The competitiveness of what I wanted to do excited me. However, as I started to see other people around me having more success, I started to worry that what I was doing was not worthy enough and its difficult to stay inspired with that negative mindset.
One reason why I have recently come out of this creative slump is because I have started blogging frequently again. Being able to create something for other people to read, that I never get with writing in my journal, is inspiring in itself. It forces you to create high quality content. I was recently accepted onto The Tab Fellowship programme to write for their Babe site. My first piece was submitted last week. (You can read it here.) Although inspiration and creativity should exist even if you are getting nothing back other than the satisfaction of having created something cool. However, a little bit of recognition and encouragement goes a long way in motivating you going forward and being published on a site that has so many readers felt like recognition. People say you should fake it 'til you make it, and that becomes a lot easier if you are getting something back.
Last weekend I went to a student paper alumni event. I spoke to a lot of journalists and people working in the media industry. They were all very encouraging and no one was patronising about our ambitions. I’ve had a why me kind of attitude about my goals for a long time, but now I’ve started to ask why not me? Reading work by others used to make me feel inadequate, but now I see each article I read as research and a way in which to collate ideas and expand my mind.
Another thing that helps me stay inspired is to constantly be busy and working on something. I want to try and keep this up over the 3 month summer I have ahead. I have started planning my days more effectively by having lists of things to do, but approaching it as more of a guide than a plan because I've found that being a slave to my own constructed schedule limits inspiration. However, being busy means I don’t get bored, which is when the creative lethargy sets in. Tavi Gevinson said that she has a note on her mirror saying, “There is not enough time for hating yourself. Too many things to make. Go.” I have been thinking about this more and more lately. It is only when you are not actually working on something that you have time to overthink it and become overly self-critical.
Self-doubt is a cruel cycle because it often leads us to stop altogether, when that is such a backwards solution. We have to keep practising what we are passionate about, even if that means we’re embarrassed by what we’ve made in the past. Self-doubt never goes away completely. The world’s most successful artists still possess it. However, instead of that being frightening it should be inspiring, and comforting because the feeling is universal.
I find that the more I do, the more I want to do. This is a much more positive cycle. A certain amount of introspection is good, especially for writers, but I won’t be weighed down by it anymore. I get such a rush from writing, researching, reading, and the more I do it, the better it gets.
//Vintage shorts and top, eBay choker, Topshop socks, New Look sandals//
photos taken by Ethan on the steps behind Sheffield Cathedral
Hope you're having a good week x