What To Do When the Well of Creativity Runs a Little Dry

What would you call that? A funk? A rut? Creative block? I call it one of the few DOWNFALLS of social media. The pressure of comparison. I've faced the tough reality of losing my "identity" as an artist lately. My mind has fogged up with the inspiration devastation that comes with opening up Instagram, being inspired by so many other artists, and consequently being unable to pull creativity from my own well of ideas that, until recently, seemed bountiful.


As an artist, social media is so wonderful for the reach and ability it has to put your work out to so many others around the world. But with those perks comes a major downfall: comparison and competition. Sure, we view other artists' work and like and comment and build them up first and foremost. But deep down inside, there's a slight pang of competition that, trust me, no one wants to feel but also can't help but notice when it shows up.


I've been feeling this horrible feeling a lot lately and I finally had to pull myself out of it. I started seriously pursuing art almost 3 years ago which, to me, seems like a long time. But ask any artist in the game who has successful collaborations, product lines, etc. I guarantee it took them a lot longer than 3 years to get to that point. And, as I often forget, I am a full-time teacher! I teach second graders, an emotionally consuming job that I use art to escape from the stresses of. I've always viewed art as a joyful, stress-free experience and lately, that's been dimmed by the pressures of social media. I'm so inspired by the artists I follow but sometimes, that inspiration clouds my own creativity.





Does this look familiar to anyone? Maybe, maybe not {if you haven't been around that long, maybe not but welcome!}. I began my art presence on Instagram with this lovely little sea turtle. With parents that live down at the beach full-time, I grew up at the beach. It's been my source of inspiration for as long as I can remember. When I started @AlexaMartinDesigns, these coastal creatures were my first officially unofficial "collection". As time has gone on, I've done a lot of custom client work which has steered my feed and the accounts that I follow in another direction. I was seeing so much great work that was inspiring me to create something with that vibe and all of a sudden, my Instagram feed had become unrecognizable to me. I was suddenly painting donuts, exteriors of little cafés in Paris, and other things that were cute and looked great on other people's pages but didn't really mesh well with mine. All of this just to avoid the feeling of being "backed into" one type of style.


THAT is where I was wrong. I've spent so much time running away from a specific style or type of vibe but when you look at any great blogger, artist, or creators' page, they all have a very clear style. Any great artists' work can be traced back to their name almost instantly because it's what they love to create and what they're good at and what they've stuck to for so long. Maybe not with so much rigidity, but there is always a hint of their foundational style in their work.


I literally awoke with a start in the middle of the night last night with this revelation. To stop running from what I am great at and what brings me joy when I put brush to paper. I love all things coastal, blue, vibrant, and with pops of color. So, if you've been feeling or ever felt this type of way, I'm here to tell you to stop running. Embrace what makes you happy and what you're good at and the rest will fall into place. Well, not really fall into place as much as get pushed into place by your hard work. Don't discredit what you've done! Don't fall into the trap of those double C's and compare yourself to someone else or give into the feeling of competition. Pick up your pen or brush or marker and remember where and why you started doing this. Get back to that foundational building block of who you are as a creator.




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A portfolio of artwork by NJ-based artist Alexa Martin

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