So maybe what I need to do is reinvent my creativity paradigm. Sometimes my short term coping strategy is to just put some paint on the canvas or just put some words on the page. This is often enough to get me over the hump so to speak.
But there are times when nothing seems to help. I often have to remind myself that one of the reasons I make art and write is to get outside myself. I then have to turn my art into a kind of meditation where the process becomes much more important than the product. This is not always easy to do in a world where productivity is king.
I think that is why I am drawn to processes that are repetitive and even tedious--things like cutting up books into strips if text and using them to construct a portrait, or cutting thousands of 1" dots from magazines to create an overlaying matrix, or constructing highly pixelated images from a wide variety of bits of plastic or paper.
Strangely enough, I think this gene must have been passed down to my artist daughter. For example, in 2010, she once made a series of crop circles out of bath mats. And if that wasn't strange enough, she photographed them and made time lapse movies of the process. These were then made into a series of TV commercials (which actually aired on the local channels) to promote a piece of performance art titled, "The Institute for Truth and Beauty." This consisted of her setting up shop in an office building for one month and taking appointments from her "clients" who would come in to converse about the concepts of truth and beauty. Furthermore, she silk screened her logo (specifically created for this project) onto lab coats that she wore each day. She created a series of brochures and business cards to hand out, and she taped all of her interviews on a closed-circuit TV system. When she wasn't engaged in appointments, she videotaped herself making crop circles.
Here is a photo of her questionnaire and business cards, and one of the artist at work in her lab coat.
"It has been said of East Texas that the region exists behind a Pine Curtain. Like the Iron Curtain, it is both a physical and ideological border that literally obscures the horizon. What does it mean to live in such isolation? The horizon, according to literary critic Susan Stewart, is "a place toward which the mind journeys." We can never arrive there. The horizon is the line along which we can write our stories."
I definitely do not put myself in the same class as her, but I do identify with her almost manic need to make art.
I recently read an article in Psychology Today that linked mania with creativity. I have discussed this link with several of my artist friends, and most of them agree that it is a delicate balancing act to use the mania as fuel without letting it overwhelm you and become a self-destructive force. In the article I just mentioned,Eric R. Maisel, PhD says:
"Natural psychology has many answers having to do with the art and practice of making meaning. However the short answer is increased self-awareness and the courage to see one’s own games and tactics. It is the individual exposing this situation to himself and for himself, announcing that he must wrest control of his mind and his life, and practicing the techniques conventionally called mindfulness techniques, that amount to the short answer."
(This is a very interesting article and worth reading for any artist: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rethinking-psychology/201206/intelligence-creativity-and-mania)
This takes me back to my original consideration that I need to change my own perceptions of the creative process. Maybe I am not too far off the path I need to be on. Perhaps being self aware is a good enough first step.