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How I got my mojo back~

Five things you can do when you're stuck in a funk!

I hit a dry spell, a creative block, this past year and it was difficult. I was incredibly productive last Christmas. I made acrylic pours with resin on coasters, ornaments, lazy Susan's and charcuterie boards. They were beautiful and required an eight-step process to create from start to finish. It was a lot of production work, and I was sapped at the end of the holiday season. This is normal for me, and I wasn't too worried about it. I took time off after the holidays and waited to get that spark of creativity back. But it was dead silent. Nothing. Waiting. More waiting.

I was at a loss. I burned myself out on acrylic pours and it didn't excite me anymore. I could feel my heart moving in another direction. I reached out to my community and started to give voice to my feelings. The more I talked about my creative funk the more feedback and encouragement I received. Surrounding yourself with other artists or like-minded people is imperative. It is like oxygen. I know that sounds dramatic and it should because it's so important. Thankfully I was able to receive the support, feedback and encouragement I need to push through. If I didn't have this community, I might not have persevered.

It is easier for me to be kinder to others than to myself. What would I say to my friend, child, partner or student if they were in my situation? I really sat with this question and made a conscious decision to be more generous to myself. It became my full-time job to treat myself with grace, love and encouragement. That was enough to get my internal dialog on the right path.

Next, I decided to invest in myself. I have wanted to take Nicholas Wilton's Art2Life Creative Visionary Program (CVP) for the past two years, but it had always felt a little bit out of reach, financially. Or at least, that's what I told myself. I had some serious conversations with myself and my community about why I felt I couldn't afford this program and decided to make it a goal to save up for it.

I think my self-worth was more wrapped up in that decision than my financial situation. For me it's easier to say out loud I can't afford it than I don't deserve it. I thought there were so many other areas in my life that money could be better spent and was needed. For some reason it becomes a necessity if it's for my children or family, but if it's for me, seems like a luxury. I had to repetitively tell myself I was worth the investment and really lean into being kind and generous to myself for this decision to become a reality.

After I finished this intensive twelve-week art course I was over cooked. My brain felt like mush, and I was even more confused about what I wanted to create. This course was supposed to be my lifeline back to making art. What a disappointment when it finished, and I felt even more confused. Once again, I reached out to my community, gave myself grace and decided to reset. Taking great advice and encouragement from other students and mentors who had done this program in the past. They all agreed, they felt the same way too, the first time they took CVP. Their advice was to give it time, let all that information sink in and take a break. June 17th, I packed up my painting supplies at my studio and brought everything home. Over the summer my only goal was to spend time with family, take tons of photos and play in my sketch books. Having all my supplies on hand and no pressure to make anything turned out to be exactly what I needed to find that spark again.

Our creativity ebbs and flows, and sometimes we get stuck. If you have lost your mojo, I hope these five tips can help you to get it back!

  1. Community. Build your own if you have to! Find it in an online group or in person. Check out your local library, newspaper, Front Porch Forum or art store to find out what's happening in your area and get out there.

  2. Be generous to yourself. Pick a daily mantra and stick to it. Mine is "Would I say that to my child or friend"? If I wouldn't say it to them, I won't say it to myself.

  3. Invest in yourself. This doesn't have to cost anything. Take a walk with a friend, go out dancing or grab your sketchbook and head to the river. Take time for yourself.

  4. Self-worth. You are good enough and you deserve it. Try it on and see how it feels. I used to leave little post it notes for myself with encouraging words in random pockets. Every time I pull one out and look at it, I am reminded I am worthy!

  5. Learn how to let go when you need to. Sometimes taking a break and resetting can be just what you need.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Katie O'Rourke

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