A blank page can be the most terrifying thing to an artist. It’s white emptiness a bottomless abyss full of potential. Sometimes there is too much potential, the endless possibilities sitting right below the surface, waiting to be unlocked with the stroke of a pencil or the typing of a key. Other times, there is no potential. The serene white expanse nothing more than a desert of ideas.
My life has been a struggle with the blank page. For as long as I can remember, creating has been everything for me. One of the first careers I wanted as a child was an artist and I would always look jealously on at the others who I thought were more talented than I, able to do things with a pencil that I never could, no matter how hard I tried.
My bipolar makes this struggle that much harder. I go back and forth between a manic state, where a million ideas swirl inside my head and the only thing standing in my way is the amount of hours in a day and my need for sleep and other times when I am so depressed that the thought of even doodling holds no interest and my creativity is firmly locked away.
People talk about art as a way of therapy. But how can it make me feel better when I don’t even have the energy within me to lift a pencil? Maybe that’s why so many artists have a mental illness. They need the art as a way of coping. Or maybe some form of internal pain is necessary to push a person to create?
One thing that helps me create is having external motivation. If there is a reason for me to make something, sometimes I am able to force myself even when I don’t have the energy. I used to make stuff as gifts a lot because that was one way to motivate myself. But if it wasn’t someone’s birthday or Christmas, then I had no reason to make anything and my creative skills fell by the wayside.
Recently, I started making stuff for Etsy. This has helped encourage my creativity by leaps and bounds, especially when I figured out how to create posters in Photoshop. If you want, you can check out my store here.
Since I’ve been on my medication, I feel like my creativity has woken up from hibernation. I have done more creative projects in the last few weeks than in years previous and I love this new found energy. My creativity is something that is very important to me and the thought of ever losing it is scary. I fear I will run out of ideas and I won’t have anything new to create.
This blog post started as a terrifyingly blank page. Unsure of what to create with my writing, I decided to write about creating. Maybe I am running out of ideas or maybe I am coming over a hill and the next time I will have too many ideas to count.