You can bet your bottom dollar that Vincent van Gogh never had to resort to the self-help section of a local library to kickstart his creative spark. But I find that after the low of the lurching and the relative high of the house move, I have hit the Plateau of the Puzzled. This is a high, arid wasteland in which, as far as the eye can see, no flicker of a new idea exists.
Whatever has happened to my creative spark?
Unlike Vincent, I have ransacked the 153s in my local library for books with titles like Kickstart your creativity (a Kiwi book – great fun and well worth a look). And I can tell you with authority that the basic message is this: creativity, like genius, is 99% hard work and 1% the clever stuff that you were born with.
I know this is true, as I once seriously improved my drawing skills by following Danny Gregory‘s “draw every day” programme in his excellent book The creative license. And in a wildly “synchronicitous” single day last week I stumbled on two articles that consolidated his message.
The first article, in Frankie (one of my favourite mags – always bursting with new ideas from the trendily geeky) tells of a young artist who, for an entire month, drew everything that she was about to eat and then used the drawings to wallpaper her kitchen. Of course her drawing improved a whole heap but, more importantly, so did her figure!
On the same day and at the complete opposite end of the magazine spectrum, in The Oldie (June 2011), there was an interview with an artist who did a nude drawing of his wife every morning for 63 years. I bet there were days when she wished she had married an engineer.
So there it is then, no matter what your creative desire: Just Do It! But how about you, what do you do when you are creatively all plateaued out?