For an artist, there is no feeling more frustrating than that of a creative block. They seem to come out of nowhere, and usually at the most inconvenient time. What’s worse is that it feels like nothing can get you out of this rut. You’re just stuck. Sometimes, though, it may be easier than you think to get yourself back into your creative flow. Check out these tips on what to do if you find yourself suffering from a creative block.
Put your work aside for a bit.
Now, I know that for some full-time working artists or art students, this may not always be an option. But if you have another project that you’ve been neglecting, or have other things to get done, try attending to those before you get back to your work. Sometimes, your best ideas come to you when you are doing something completely unrelated to your art. Do you have chores to do? An essay to write? Do these things before returning to your art. For me, my best creative ideas always come when I’m in a car. So whenever I’m artistically stuck, I get in my car and start driving around, running errands. The idea behind this is that your creativity will start to flow once you stop forcing it. If you let it come naturally, chances are you will be able ride your creative wave for much longer.
Find some clarity.
I once had a professor tell me that writer’s block stems from a place of self-consciousness. You’re worrying about whether or not your art is good enough, or truly a representation of you, or whether people will like it. All of these busy and negative thoughts are the enemy to creating. You need to free yourself from your unproductive thought processes in order to make your art. And this type of thinking looks different for everyone: some people can’t stop comparing themselves to others, some can’t shake the daunting thought of other people judging their work, and some people are their own worst enemy, harshly over-critiquing everything they create. The best way to get yourself out of this thinking is going to differ from person to person too, so I suggest trying a bunch of different things and finding out what works best for you. Maybe you need to take ten minutes to meditate and ground yourself in the present moment. Maybe you can achieve this by going for a run. Or maybe you will best find clarity by spending some time in nature. Finding the ways in which you can best take care of yourself and clear your mind will ultimately benefit your art.
Art is not meant to always be a solo project. Creativity is a wonderful thing to be shared with others, and is sometimes best inspired in a collaborative setting. If you have the beginning workings of an idea, call up a friend or colleague and tell them about it. Or if you are in a place where you can’t come up with any ideas at all, ask someone else about their current projects. Maybe if you’re both in a creative block, you can start a new project together. Collaboration is a huge part of making art, and it is what brings about communities of artists. And it is also the beauty of having community within art–there is support from other people when you alone are having a tough time. Don’t shy away from reaching out to your fellow artists as a resource.
And just remember that this creative block, like everything else in life, is only temporary. It’s frustrating and super inconvenient, but it will pass. My best advice is to not get too hung up in that moment, and it will eventually work itself out. Sometimes all it takes is to lift your foot off the gas pedal, and those creative ideas will return naturally. Good luck, and keep creating!