An Honest Conversation About Creative Funks

I’ve always encountered the occasional creative funk— those once-in-a-while moments where I don’t feel entirely inspired or motivated to produce new work. As a creator, this was typical of the creative process, but this funk felt different than the others. I felt uninspired, overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a new issue of my magazine, and paralyzed by the ongoing juggling act of daily responsibilities that I wasn’t sure I could fully balance. The stress of school work, responsibilities at my marketing internship, the launch of a new blog, and the management of my magazine became something that felt daunting and tiring. An initial hunger to get ahead and be a ‘go getter’ was seemingly appealing and endearing, but ambitious dreams quickly turned into longer days and sleepless nights, and the tiredness I felt was something that drained me of all my creative energy and will to produce art.

This funk led me to consider a rather drastic decision that left me tremendously conflicted, and I questioned whether or not I should continue my magazine at all with a schedule that seemed as though I would break at any moment if I couldn’t catch a breath. I wanted to work on something new—and something that felt that it was ‘growing’ and reflective of who I was becoming rather than who I used to be. I thought that the solution was to abandon ship, pursue a new project and work solely on my blog that would better reflect my current interests and passions, and just forget about the publication whose responsibilities and pressures to be a leader and editor had weighed so heavily on my brain. In my mind, if these pressures could be alleviated by eliminating just one of my so-called extracurriculars, my magazine would be the one that should go.

Photography by Kayla Mendez, featured in Mad Sounds Magazine Issue 27

However, in working on this past issue, I found that giving up this publication was harder than I anticipated. The idea of giving up on Mad Sounds wasn’t something that felt intuitive or ‘right’—instead, it felt like breaking up with a soulmate, something that I had loved, worked incredibly hard to cultivate, and had suddenly wanted to abandon, simply because life felt hard and weird and sad at the moment. But as I started working on the magazine with new work, cleaner layouts and design, and new concepts that reflected a more accurate representation of what I had wanted to showcase as an artist, I saw the potential for the publication to be a project that could grow with me, rather than remaining stagnant and ‘the same’. I began to remember how much I loved the process of editing feature pages, cultivating shoots with concepts that I loved, and with people whose talents I believed in, and slowly but surely, Mad Sounds was something I enjoyed coming back to in my days of stress and chaos. It was a calm within the storm of essays, meetings, and self-induced pressures to do and be everything at once. And it felt good again.

While working on this issue of Mad Sounds, I began to rekindle my passion for magazine editing as a whole and found myself falling back in love with Mad Sounds as the passion project that I originally started in high school—the project that I created out of a love for art, that made me excited to create, and helped me channel every dream, fear, emotion, and passion into a work of art.

Today I am releasing the 27th issue of Mad Sounds, not only as a tribute to those who dream, but as a testament to the self-love, growth, and perseverance in the face of self-doubt that often challenges the way we chase our dreams and grow as creators. Although we all experience funks, moments of defeat, and periods where we are uncertain of how we should move forward—the cultivation of our passions, the pursuit of our dreams, and the focus upon our own self-love and happiness are the agents that help to inspire us and pursue the things that we love—and I don’t want to ever give up on the things that make me excited to be alive.

To those who dream big, live boldly, and love passionately, I urge you to take time to reflect and reevaluate the things that drive you, the things that make you happy. Passions change, people grow, and sometimes, your dreams may appear a bit differently than they did before. But please, never give up on the things that you love, especially if a part of you still loves them. Take all the time you need and try to find joy in what you can, but if it makes you happy, do it with all of your heart...because you are what you love, and you might as well be something you really really love.

Photography by Andre Nguyen, featuring Meredith Foster - Mad Sounds Magazine Issue 27