I have a confession to make. I’m stuck in an artistic slump. It’s been a long while since I’ve found a song that has really spoken, or rather yelled at me, to dance to it. (Usually that’s what it feels like when I find a new song: OMG DANCE TO ME NOW!!!!!) I feel like I’ve been doing the same movements over and over again in my performances. I’m… in a rut.
But, I’m not freaking out about it. I used to fret that I hadn’t had a good, new idea in weeks, months. So, why am I not too worried about it?
- Ruts happen to everyone. Even the most prolific artists have periods of their lives when the muse just isn’t speaking to them. I trust that, as I have before, I will find my way out of the rut and be inspired again.
- The Universe has a way of pulling you out of your rut. Trust it. I know that eventually that new song will come, or maybe I’ll talk to someone and it will spark a new idea and the muse will return.
- I’m taking small measures to entice the muse back to me. When I’m not feeling inspired in my dancing, I focus on other things. I listen to music to which I’m not intending to dance. I just listen and enjoy. I’m not making new costuming. I’m reading books that are unrelated to dance. Creativity is the merging of two unrelated concepts or ideas, so, ideally, if I spend enough time not seeking the muse, she will return when she’s ready.
- Worry and stress will only push away the muse. I know that if I fret, I’ll just worry myself into a stifled, uncreative frenzy, and then I’ll really be stuck.
- I’m still doing things I enjoy. I am writing in my journals, collaging, saving images on the web that catch my eye, taking walks around my neighborhood, chatting about dance and art with my friends, watching movies with my husband, running simple errands (yes, I enjoy that), and teaching my classes and guiding my wonderful students. I have not given up on joy. My life is full of joy right now… and maybe the muse is just on an extended vacation.
So… when dancers ask me what I do when I’m feeling uninspired, stuck, or blah about my art, I tell them, “Just relax. The muse will return when she’s ready.” Trust that you’ll be inspired again. Keep your eyes and ears and heart open for new ideas, music, costuming ideas, and dance movements. Take time to enjoy the little things in life.
What do you do when you’re feeling stuck?