Empty the Vessel * Move through Fear * Be Creative

Empty the Vessel * Move through Fear * Be Creative - student project

I go through phases of intense artistic expression, then creative writing too. I have had several experiences where I have experienced a form of writer's block and also a period of time where I was unable to find joy in my art practice.

These times of fear and struggle to create are like thunder clouds in the sky... I know that eventually they will pass.

It can be a struggle to move through the challenging times to find the creative spark as fear has a way of gripping us and holding us prisoner so we cannot do the things we love, which, in my case is being creative every day. But through practicing emptying my vessel, I free up space to be creative and then when the flow begins, it is like a floodgate has been flung open and it cannot be closed.

I have loaded an image of a drawing I did in 2019 after a time of going through writer's block. When writing would not flow, my art came to life and it wasn't gallery standard but it was a reflection and a comment on something in my life - my M&M slippers which I picked up in London on my first trip to the UK. Those slippers might look kitsch but I love them and I wanted to draw them. 

Below is my 'Empty the Vessel' experience. I did it. I moved through fear, and I embraced creativity in another form that opened up new pathways for me to come back to the things I love and do more with more depth and personal expression.

I hope, that if you take the time to read this project, that you will feel inspired to let go of your fears, to feel them, move through them and start taking positive action towards creating what is important to you.

There is hope, just have to cling to it and know that these times will pass and you can make progress.

Project updated 30/8/2019


Here's my project. I've called it 'Empty the Vessel' and what I did here was create a big circle on an A3 piece of paper. Then I let all of the mental rubbish that was swirling around inside my head flow into the centre of the circle. 

The image represents the turmoil I was feeling at the time of doing this part of my project.

I felt...






and a number of other emotions.

Empty the Vessel * Move through Fear * Be Creative - image 1 - student project

As I scribbled it all on inside the circle, writing one hideous word after another and turning the page around and around, the emotions that were clogging my mind started to shift and flow out of my head and on to the page. As I wrote each word and let myself express what I was feeling without judging myself for doing so, I emptied the vessel.

I called this image: Turmoil.

It depicts the way anxious thoughts tumble over and over inside my mind and how overwhelming it can feel. Placing the thoughts into a safe place (the circle), they are contained and I am secure in knowing that letting go is a positive action and I can step forward through fear and into creativity.

I shred this image completely and threw it away. In that action, I sent a message to myself that I am willing to lean in and experience the pain and suffering, but I am not willing to continue to carry it around with me and be affected by it. I am moving through the fear and pain and I am making space for creativity to flow. 

Then I sat down and watched a little bit of Netflix to allow my mind to settle. Doing something enjoyable was exactly what I needed. 

I didn't pressure myself to produce anything perfect or seek to write my next novel or paint a master piece. Instead, I allowed myself time to experience a moment of peace. 

A couple of days later, I started to think through the synopsis of my novel. With a little guidance from my Editor, and having cleared out the junk thoughts and emotions that had held me prisoner for a period of time, ideas started popping into my head on how I could tighten the character arcs and many other things.

My action step after emptying the vessel included jotting down my synopsis ideas and go back to my art practice.

I hope my project example will help you to move through your fears and into your own creative expression, whatever form it takes. 

Selina Shapland
Art, Writing, Creativity Coaching