Dealing with Creative Labor Pains

Picture 1 "@%$%@! Get this thing out of me!"

Apologies in advance to the mothers among you who will surely take issue with my imminent comparison of the pain of artmaking to the pain of giving birth. I'm assured that ACTUAL birth is a whole helluva lot harder and much, much, MUCH more painful.

That said, I can't help but notice, despite the fact we're producing artwork of some kind and not a human  being, we're still engaged with the same essential process: the act of creation. The stages of conception, gestation, labor and birth are the same as the stages of creating art. First, you get an amazing idea (conception), you sit with it and mull it over (gestation), then you struggle and struggle and struggle while making it (labor) until finally - voila! - a completed work (birth!)

But why do we do it when it can be so hard? Perhaps for the same reason that women, after a lifetime of hearing how grueling the birth process can be, still choose to have children. Because, ultimately, the pain is but a small price to pay for the incredibly satisfying result.

Remember when you're creating something that you're in labor. And it can be hard. It can bring a lot of emotional stuff to the surface. It questions our dedication, our courage, our discipline, our strength, our focus, our stamina. It can cause us to shut down, melt down and otherwise wig the hell out.

The trick is to be gentle with yourself and allow the process to unfold. Keep showing up and do your best to ride out the pain. Know that struggle isn't indicating that you should abandon this project, it's simply a natural part of bringing something to light.

If you're feeling labor pains while in the throes of creation, hang on. Keep going. BREATHE.

And push, darn it! PUUUSSSHHH!

Want more info like this? Sign up for the All Creativelike newsletter here!