Creative Block


A lot of artists deal with moments where they can’t find the inspiration or motivation to start or finish a project. This can be creative block, but this feeling of not knowing where to start or go can go beyond making a piece- it could be not knowing how to get your art more exposed, or not knowing how to price your pieces. If you ever get to this point, it can be daunting and overwhelming. Below are some tips on how I personally deal with these moments. I’m tailoring these tips to visual artists, but really, they can be used in a variety of situations.

1)      Just start- Sometimes doing anything beats doing nothing. Want to make a new art piece but don’t know where to start? Why not get cozy with your sketchbook and sketch/doodle whatever comes to your head? When Edwin and I are trying to come up with new designs and neither of us know where to start, sometimes I will sketch mini designs of whatever pops into my head in 2 inch x 3 inch rectangles in my sketchbook. Guess what? Sometimes we end up really liking some of those sketches and they become our next mosaic piece. If you have goals that go beyond making art such as how to get your art more exposed, just pick somewhere to start. Apply for a show, join a group for artists, or research how other artists go about it.

2)      Take breaks- Have you ever tried to come up with an idea or solve a problem, and the more you thought about it, the more convoluted and confusing it became. *Raises hand*

A lot of us can tell when our thinking has become unproductive and is doing more harm than good. Sometimes you just need to run away for the moment and take a break. Read a book, admire the artwork of others, watch your favorite show, or exercise. Doing this can not only relieve any tension you may feel, but it can also get your creativity flowing in unexpected ways. I get inspired from nature, other artists, and pure randomness. You never know where your inspiration may be lurking.

3)      Set aside a time to allow yourself to address the problem- You can really love a project or idea but learn that certain aspects of it don’t work. This can leave you not knowing what to do, sometimes to the point where you feel as if you could put that project you love on hold forever. If you know there is something you ultimately want to do but are dreading parts of it, set aside a time where you focus only on those parts. That way, if you decide to take a break from it, you won’t feel guilty or anxious because you have a designated time to properly address it.

4)      Bounce ideas off of others- Talk to other artists, critique partners, or anyone who you think will get your creativity flowing. You might not only cure your block, you might realize that others have or have had the same issues as you, which can be comforting as they help you figure out solutions.

5)      Just keep going- Even if you have no clue about the end result of your project, idea, or endeavor, just keep going. If you are passionate about it and are open to seeing how things unfold, you will learn as you go. You will also experience the satisfaction of seeing your idea through, which could lead to more opportunities and possibilities.