This is dangerous. You can be doing a lot of work as a creative and still feel as though you’re not doing much of anything you love.
A long-time friend of mine who experienced this feeling early on in his career described it as: “having an apartment with a lot of things in it, and yet still feeling as though it were completely empty.”
It’s the feeling of losing your creative passion. Extinguitur ignis. The fire of doing what you love extinguished to a small ember. It’s a dangerous place to be for a creative: artist, photographer, dancer, sculpture, writer, or otherwise.
It is, however, natural. A loss of passion in creativity is regularly a result of stress, or a lack of focus, or a fear of risk, or the feeling of doing work that is under appreciated. It’s the photographer who doesn’t feel as though her photos receive any recognition, or the painter who doesn’t know what medium is right for him. Creative passion can go missing, it happens. The dangerous part comes from giving up when you do lose passion; from calling it quits and accepting the fact that you just don’t have it in you.
As Tony Luna so elegantly explains in this article on Photo.net: “One thing we have to embrace is the knowledge that once we have claimed our passion it will not leave us. It may lay dormant while we retool our skills, or we take a break to refresh our abilities so we can recognize the possibilities around us, but our passion never really, totally, abandons us.”
Knowing these things, there are a few ways to hold tight to your passion for creating.
The first way to not lose that passion is to make sure you’re not overly stressed. Find plenty of time to take breaks and get some rest throughout your work day.
Another way is to consistently ask yourself if what you’re working on is a part of your larger goal. Avoid doing any creative work that doesn’t help you move towards your larger life goal (or goals), though recognize that sometimes the smaller goals are merely stepping stones to that bigger stones on your path.
You should also regularly evaluate your creative focus. Ask yourself: “is this the type of creative work I want to be known for?” If not, start making small changes right now to get your focus back on track.
Lastly, embrace the idea that you might fail, and that failure is not the end but merely an experience for growth.
If you’ve recently felt as though you’re losing your passion to create, first ask yourself what might be causing the feeling (is it stress? Feeling unappreciated? A lack of focus? Fear of failure?), then give yourself time to resolve the issue on your own terms.
Photo by D Sharon Pruitt.