August 5, 2013

The Creative Blues

A while ago I skimmed a book called THE VAN GOGH BLUES by Eric Maisel. Here's the Amazon description: "Creative people will experience depression—that’s a given . . . because they are regularly confronted by doubts about the meaningfulness of their efforts. Theirs is a kind of depression that does not respond to pharmaceutical treatment. What’s required is healing in the realm of meaning."

I wonder if artists get the blues more often because everyone wants to feel their work is worthwhile, but the monetary value society assigns the arts is pretty inconsistent. Artists have to dig deeper than a steady paycheck for validation. That's hard work.

Here's Maisel's advice to a weaver who was prone to depression:
You haven't come to grips with what you intend your life to mean. Until you do, your depression can't lift. . . . You must stop everything and decide on the purpose of your life. Once you've articulated your personal creed, you put it into action. You force life to mean what you intend it to mean. Then, for example, when you find yourself hating your current weaving, you'll know how to say to yourself, "I'm having a meaning problem, not a weaving problem. Weaving is meaningful, and I won't change my mind about that just because I'm feeling frustrated."
I took Maisel's advice and wrote a personal writing creed, which I'll share with you on Wednesday.

Until then, do you ever find yourself feeling blue about your creative work, even when everything else in life is going fine? What do you do to bounce back? I'm stealing this next question from author Nichole Giles, who's been talking about finding happiness lately on her blog. What's on your automatic-happy list when you need a pick-me-up? I think peanut-butter M&Ms might be on mine.


gaylene said...

I've had the creative blues for a few years now. It didn't help that I moved across the country from my writer's group :(
But I think for me, I need to decide whether the "imaginary world" I live in has as much meaning as the "real world" I actually do live in. It was easy when I had babies and nothing else to think about aside from dirty diapers, but it's been harder for me to find balance with bigger kids.
Hopefully I'll get over it before another 2 years pass by. I loved your quotes, and so happy to see you're blogging again!

Kim Webb Reid said...

Come back, Gaylene!! And I agree about finding the balance between an imaginary world and the real one. I will probably blog about that topic sometime soon.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Ah, the creative blues! I get these like once a week, heh. Food has been a good pick-me-up, but I usually find reading is even more helpful. If I'm ever completely stuck, I actually like to go read some of my past published stuff. For some reason, that seems to help. Now that I've waited so long to read blogs, I can actually go look at your creed right away now. Sweet!