I already talked about my latest row with this phenomenon of postpartum depression after finishing a creative project, but acknowledging the problem is only part of the battle.
Being a rampant creative, I feel like coping mechanisms have become a second language. I'm too sensitive about things, so I need a coping mechanism. Surviving life as a cubicle jockey: coping mechanisms. Getting depressed after finishing a major creative project?
Fuck yeah, coping mechanisms!
First, let's understand why we get depressed after a creative project. In my earlier post, I told the story about finishing a piece of art that I had been laboring over for a few weeks. This thing was my go-to creative outlet, fulfilling my every creative desire. It also pushed my skills to new levels -- this thing seriously changed me, which I would hope any good creative project would.
So when all of that wraps up, there is going to be a void. It's inevitable. And the bigger the void, the harder the postpartum impact.
Now, how to cope?
REMEMBER THE NECESSITY TO CREATE IN THE FIRST PLACE
For me, the act of producing creative is a necessity. It centers me. It makes me happy. Yes, I want to find runaway success and all the money from things I create, but that's secondary to the core purpose of being a necessity. When I finish a project, it's important to remember that regardless of what happens next with the piece, the whole point was to create it. Plain and simple.
HONOR THE FINISHED PIECE FOR YOURSELF, NOT FOR OTHERS.
Pretty much everything I do is digital -- art on the iPad Pro, video, animations, ebooks. Of course digital is nebulous, so it's important to give your creative a proper home where, at very least, you can respect the work you put into it. For example, after well over 100 comic strips, I'm comforted knowing that anyone can peek in and devour the comic archives here.
For Debateasaurus Rex, I actually plan to have it printed on a canvas. It'll look nice in my dinosaur room.
Yes. I have a dinosaur room.
HAVE YOUR NEXT CREATIVE ENDEAVOR LOCKED AND LOADED -- DON'T GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO WALLOW IN THE DEBILITATING EMPTINESS OF CREATIVE POSTPARTUM.
The longer the gap betweep creative projects, the harder the depression hits. Keeping multiple projects lined up is smart. Having projects of varying complexities is even smarter, because if simple project is quicker to dive into, the shorter the gap will be.
Since I paused one #betterwithdinosaurs piece to work on Debateasaurus, I'm actually ready to dive right back into my pending triceratops piece. Plus, I'm also noodling over a massive apatasaurus piece that's primed for layout.
All of that is aside from my regularly scheduled work and freelance, on top of this new goal to blog about creativity.
A busy brain doesn't have room or time for depression. Until that brick wall of exhaustion catches up with you, but that's another story.
GET SOME DISTRACTIONS QUEUED UP
Creative projects are great, it's what we do. Forcing creativity, however, can at times be a very bad idea.
For me, the goal is to have two or three backup projects waiting in the wings, but there are also times when I need to just take a beat. The Creative Beast can be fed in different ways, and sometimes it doesn't necessarily mean a creative process.
Binge a TV show. Catch up on some movies. Read a book. Exercise. What ever the distraction, have something ready to turn to that can turn the creative part of your brain off for a bit. There's nothing wrong with that -- it recharges you, inspires you, and gives your brain a chance to naturally work through that postpartum creative process.
Happy depression, friends.