There’s usually a direction. Generally, we have at least some vague idea of an endpoint we want to, need to, or are going to reach. Sometimes we have a very strong idea and this can be an important motivator. Some work at a high level when the demand is urgent. Some like to pace themselves. Whichever way one tends to operate, though, a finished product or ticked-off achievement can be a powerful driver.
There are times, however, when we’re plugging along and realise that, at best, there is no clear goal, at worst, no point. I am, at the moment, thinking about my own creative ups and downs but I am sure there are many, if not most, aspects of life where this can happen. We usually function best when we are going somewhere. Drifting can be demoralising and result in limited output.
So, in the midst of one of these times of no clear target to work towards, I have come up with a new way to approach the daily process of creation. I am now thinking to myself: when an opportunity arises, what will I wish I had done? With that on board, instead of seeming like I’m painting for no reason, it is easier to see this quiet period as a chance to work on technique, build the portfolio and be ready to say a bold YES when something crops up.
We don’t always need to be striving. I am a great supporter of down time. In our work, though, a glow in the distance, or even an imagined glow in the distance, can make us step forward with more purpose.