The peaks pass so quickly, and the valleys are so long.
My counselor describes the creative process like the eight notes on a musical staff. Step 6 is the tough one, the one where the artist gets stuck, frustrated, and unmotivated, right near the end of the project. I’ve been stuck in that shadowy place for the last few weeks. Hell, maybe even the last few months. I just couldn’t find my focus, my mojo, to animate. I was beginning to feel like a fraud when I remembered that I had just ran face-first into Step 6.
So what’s the solution? My counselor says that the artist needs to back away from the work, let the ideas percolate, and relax for a while. Sometimes we look so closely at our stuff that we lose perspective. I’m not sure if that’s really what happened, but I know that I felt blank and blocked, and I wasn’t far from the end of my work. So I started what I call “picking,” that is, completing small bits of the animation even if I wasn’t happy with it. Eventually I got to a point where I felt all right again, and I found my energy.
It happened last night. I kept chipping away at the rock with my blunt little stylus until something gave way. I finally got through whatever blockage was holding me back, and I was able to plow ahead at full speed. I reached a significant milestone as a result, but the celebration has been bittersweet.
I hate that I can’t work consistently. I hate that I can’t just hit the gas and fly down the highway. I wish I could summon my talents and wield them like a master. Perhaps I’ll get to that point one day, if I just keep practicing. Perhaps that’s what these Step Sixes are all about.