Internal Affairs: I’m Really, Really Stuck

Internal Affairs.
In the first half of 2010, I had a good run with my Orpheus film project, but then I got stuck. I got angry with myself, I cried, and I felt ashamed and like dirt because I stopped working on the film. After finishing two wonderful sets and several lovely puppets, I wasn’t able to work on the film any more, and I didn’t find out why. – At the same time I desperately wanted to move on with the production.

Which set up a lot of (internal) pressure: I want(ed) to

  • create an inspiring and outstanding artwork in animation
  • please my (future) audience
  • earn a living from my craft
  • proof my way of living as non-irrational and doable, and
  • impress you, my reader, with constant updates on my progress.


That’s quite a lot. Instead, I didn’t do anything at all.

And I’m still a bit helpless. In addition, I had a lot of paid work over the last months which made it even worse. I had the feeling that I was spending most of my creative energy at my school job, and I’ve been so tired all the time. Those feelings only change slowly. But they do while I’m asking myself every day: “What do I really want? Do I really want this that way?”

I quit my job as a school art teacher, and will have my last day there at the beginning of February which makes me feel pretty relieved. I again decided to be nothing else than an artist, and to make a living, a business from my craft. I really don’t want to do anything else, but at the same time I’m full of doubts if this is possible. Then again, I simply know deep inside that art and animation is my thing.

I try to allow myself to feel weak and tired, and to rest if I need it. I try not to force myself into the creative process, but rather to appreciate it if I’m able to work on little things like drawings or design stuff. I’m trying to treat myself nicely, even though it’s sometimes difficult with my monsters or inner critics shouting at me like hell.

It’s difficult, and it hurts. It’s in my thoughts all the time. But still: there’s progress – tiny doses, almost invisible. I’m still angry about not working on the film, but I try to give it some more time until the anger will vanish, and I’ll finally start again. I’m glad that I can.

If you’d like to comment on this topic, please do it the kind way. I’d like to read your thoughts, about your experiences and how you deal with those issues as I described it here.

06. December 2010 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , , | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. Applause for being so frank and honest with these natural feelings, Jessica. Brava! I imagine we all deal with exactly these things.

    I marvel at what seems like my procrastination but I now realize is actually more complex a situation. I’m learning like you.

    One thing I know for sure is that the only mistake is to be cruel to ourselves over any of it. When time moves forward and we get projects done or choose to not do them, either way, when we look back on our precious life, the only thing that matters is whether we were kind to ourselves and others in my opinion.

    Do. Don’t do. Feel love for all either way.

    In the trenches with you.

    Email me every day with what you want to work on. A simple small thing. I will cheer you on.

  2. Shelley, thank you so much for your support! I thought it was important that I’m not always the “horray, it works perfectly” type of person, and that others may as well learn something from my process…

    I try not to judge to much about my (lacking) motivation, because – as you said – crueltey doesn’t help in any conflict, even not in those we have with ourselves… I don’t also don’t want to think of my situation as *procrastination* since this always contains the *guilt aspect*. I’m simply working on my stuff. – That’s most important.

    And thank you for offering me a personal cheerleader! ;) I’ll come back to that!

  3. You’re not alone! I think every creative person deals with this at some point. One thing I’ve learned is that when I push too hard, stress pushes right back. Easing into things seams to be the way.

    All the best!

  4. Jon, welcome here, and thank you for your kind words! It’s really good to know that I’ll have two free weeks around Christmas – that really keeps me moving on.

    But as you said, *every creative person deals with this at some point.* And I hope that some of them reading my blog realize that they’re not alone enen if they feel like this…

    It’s nice to have you here! I totally like your work!

  5. When I started with my writing stuff (again) it swept over me – and at that point I decided to publish it: “come hell or high water, this was the best I was able to bring forth at that time and now it’s out and thank you and good night”. My mind was clear… and it happened that I read some very early writings of one of my absolute favorite authors (Ödon von Horvath) whom I admire for his perfect to painful simplicity in dealing with words. His early works were… not THAT well written to ‘what the… I’m not sure if he was lucky having THIS published’.
    I’ve got so stuck in perfectionism that… people asked me to bring forth something I did, but it was never perfect enough for me. Then a friend of mine saw some very basic doodles, and still asks me about it. “This was the first time I actually SAW some of your work – and it was rich and well executed and I am quite curious what happened about it”. The rest lost interest.

    The reason I didn’t come forth with much what I did during the last time (since I started my blog and everything got stalled) is another one… long story involving surviving with money and a roof over my head stuff.

    The other end is a guy I used to get along much better (which I guess tells the story itself) who works and lives as an “artist”: doing stuff and performing and having written a book about his stuff with a “every idiot can do this, and a lot of idiots actually DO this – so I did it too and: behold and learn – I am an artist and can make a living of it”. Nope. Not my kind of way.

    But it helped me in handling my stuff a lot better. I publish my stuff (photography, writing) as a kind of online portfolio. “This is me. I don’t know where this – what I am doing – is coming from, but I also lost the interest in finding explanations why I am actually doing this. Only thing I know is: It must be done. The ideas came to me and I feel the urge to realize them”.

    About stuckism: I can’t really tell anything helpful about getting un-stuck. I am currently on my way to get my workshop set up to finish what I wasn’t able to finish during the long lasting times. But what helped me a lot was Billy Childish and The Stuckists: []( I like their way.

    Reading the ‘manifestos’ was a relief – especially when you don’t take them as serious as they were written. They also didn’t meant it too serious.

    A last thing about focusing on what you really love to do: my admiration. You really did quit a time- and heart/soul consuming job. Even bad impulses can be helpful. The harvest will be brought in another time. All the best.

  6. Michael, thank you so much for sharing your insights and ideas! You’re always welcome here!