Ever feel like you’re in a drawing/creative rut? I’ve been in a seriously unproductive rut for the better part of a year (or so it feels like).

Life got pretty busy.

I got into doing less self-care, less sleep, and then my output dropped. There’s a mentality that as soon as you free up time, you should fill it back up again with things that need to get done. And then the things you enjoy doing get put on the back burner.

Speaking of which, I recently read a post about the 4 burner’s theory. Basically, there are four burners:

Family, Friends, Work, and Health.

You can only focus on 3 to be generally successful at balancing. But to really succeed, you need to trim it down to 2.

And that got me thinking as to what two had I landed up focusing on lately. For me the answers were Family & Work. But work for me is the 9-5 life+ version of work. Where we don’t really stop working. That really edges out heath and friends. And where does self-care fit into that equation?

Back to the whole RUT.

Self-care is essential to getting creative in my world. I have to find time to refresh myself via a walk, or time drawing/painting, or writing. I’ve found new appreciation for waking up early to do something I enjoy – journaling. Journaling for 30 minutes in the early morning has helped center me and let me focus on what exactly I’m feeling at that moment and where my worries lay. Five years ago me would have scoffed at the idea that I wake up at 4:45 am to find time to write in a journal for 30 minutes even before I get ready for work.

As an illustrator I find that when I’m in a creative rut, it helps to do something else. And since I can’t go on a hike without it being a whole circus, then it’s good to have another way to jog that creative muscle. Writing helps me in that I don’t have the same pressure as creating a drawing that will be judged when I share it. Writing in a journal frees me to tune into my subconcious and my concious in ways that I cannot by illustrating.

Sketchbook revamp.

I also took to creating art that nobody will ever see. Ever since AP art class I’ve had a bit of anxiety and burnout when it comes to sharing my art. It all leads back to fear. Fear that the art isn’t good. I’m still working on it and ran across a great article by Christine Nishimaya of Might Could Studios that pointed out several things that I need to face and work on.

Anyway here’s a bit of art I doodled recently that I’m proud of: