Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The creative imperative and depression.

I'm not feeling very creatively fulfilled these days. I haven’t created anything significant in months. I'm tired and just feel creatively drained. My 9 to 5 has been quiet, and I haven’t been doing any creative side-lines. The last freelance job I took was really basic stuff.

It’s hard. The flow of energy to create that comes with inspiration can’t be faked. It really worries me. I worry about being able to work. I worry about being good enough to work on something if something does come along my way. I worry about talent. I worry about starting over. I worry about my relevance on the job market. I worry about my worth. My hourly rate. My ability to pay my bills. My ability to take care of myself. 

I know that people who make a living out of working creatively often hit a wall. Is that feeling compacted by my depressive nature? 

I reached out to a few friends who are also graphic designers, who were sympathetic. 

This friend is really talented! Her designs are clean and modern and she has a really pure, feminine aesthetic. She's also really clean with her technical skills. She's good! She works as a full-time graphic designer for a major fashion brand! 

I mean, it's difficult! You're totally dependent on your own creative impulses. It also can take a lot of time. Editing. Research. Ideas. Originality. Processing what it is you want to do. Revision. Even the silliest things can take a lot of time and consideration. So how do you charge for your time? By the hour? By deliverable? If you don't work quick enough - what does your hourly rate become? 

These are all things that weigh you down. I don't make good money at my day job. I'm under the average, and in my group of friends, that's also the case. I made more at my last job, which was 2 years ago. At the job before that, I had way more vacation time. The perks here are lacking. 

But, having known unemployment, my gratitude for "at least having a job" is strong. But I have good days and bad days in that regard. 

I think it's especially hard right now because it's been weeks since I've had a creative project. Most of my work lately could be qualified as marketing assistant work. Usually I would take skill-share classes, but my subscription is done. 

I have this "free time" now. It's summer, folks are on holiday, days are quiet and I have to sit here for 8 hours a day regardless of my work-flow - so I have the opportunity to work on my own personal projects, to take tutorials on-line - to create something.

I'm just really blocked. I'm creatively constipated. It's very uncomfortable. It makes me feel uncertain and leads me to questioning my "career" and it's validity. 

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