"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
One of the hardest parts about being an artist or creative is finding yourself in a slump. No matter what you put down on canvas, or even into words, you question or even throw a can of paint over. As if artists didn't question themselves enough, during this time we are even harder on ourselves wondering if we should give up the paintbrush (or pen) and move onto something much less heart wrenching. It's a struggle you guys!
When I was about 8 years old, I convinced my parents to get me a horse. I mean, I was in LOVE with horses. It's what I thought about all day everyday. I drew them, I painted them, I used to think about them before bed in hopes that I would dream about them all night long. Literally! Then, somehow, with some act of God (and years of persuasion) I landed Trado, the white Arabian.
(Pictured: Circus Point my Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred who came after Trado and on the right Trado the White Arabian)
Now, unbeknownst to me and my family, Trado, was a very naughty horse. But because we weren't really horse people we didn't know any better. The first day I rode him he just took off running full speed. Instead of trying to pull on the reigns, or maybe, you know, try to stop him, I just bailed immediately and fell to the ground. Luckily, unscathed.
Weeks went by without any real tragedies, until the Memorial Day parade that Trado and I were to ride in. As you can imagine, there was a lot going on that day. Crowds, loud noises and commotion. What do you think my little white Arabian did? He took off with me in tow. This time, I held on a little longer, but I dropped the reigns. I still flat out gave up and let him take control of me. He ran and ran and ran until we almost ran into a road full of speeding cars. I was able to grab the reigns and pull him to a stop just in time. It was an act of God and it was a moment I'll never forget for the rest of my life.
After that, my parents knew it was time to sell Trado to a more experienced rider and I don't blame them now. But at the time, I had developed a love for him despite his wanting to run me into oncoming traffic. ;)
The point is, I learned that you can easily bail or give up on hard times or you can literally ride them out. Giving up can get you hurt. If I hadn't landed safely when purposely falling off of Trado the first time he took off, I could have been seriously injured. A broken bone, a dislocated shoulder or even worse, a head injury... but I took the chance because I was scared. I think about bailing almost every day in my career because I'm scared. We all go through it and we all go through blocks. Being scared and being willing to give up so readily is not the answer. It's learning to fight to hold on through that fear that keeps us going.