Five Ways to Beat Creative Block
Let's beat creative block!
There's no escaping it; when creative block strikes it can SUCK! Feeling like we want to create but can't is really difficult and unfortunately once it strikes it can be hard to shake off. But don't worry because there areways to beat it ! Here are my five tried and tested methods for saying goodbye to creative block and finding your muse again!
Catch up on life admin
I know, right? I sound like I have lost my marbles but hear me out! One of the first reasons we will be unable to create is when our minds are snagged elsewhere. How can we create our best work when we are thinking about the mess in the kitchen, the pile of laundry, that costume that needs made for the nursery Hallowe'en party, the emails that we haven't replied to, the car insurance that needs renewed? The amount of space this can take up in our heads is staggering and I find the best way to declutter our minds is to tackle the life admin head on! Close your studio door, put away those paints, and really clear your feet with life admin tasks. It might feel silly, but I promise you there is nothing more satisfying than sitting at the end of the day and knowing you have organised yourself a bit, the house is tidy and that you have less on your to do list. Feeling lighter? A bit more free? I always do after tackling my life admin head on!
Don't create for a few days
I know that seems counter productive. I know that when we are in the midst of a creative block all we want to do. is push past it! I know some artists will tell you to keep going anyway, even if you have no inspiration. I don't believe in that method of thinking. For me, I actually cannot create some days and trying to force it means I come out of my studio feeling awful. I saddened that it was a waste of time, I hate the mess I made, I feel rubbish because I created nothing of worth. So if you need it, this is your permission to just step back and take a few days breathing space. Tidy your work space, wash the brushes, and put things away neat and tidy. And allow yourself the grace of a few days away from it all to restore your creative juices. It will still be there when you are ready again, I promise you.
Try something new
This is such a fun exercise for really pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones! I love taking a few days to really dig into something new. It can be music, a podcast you really fancied trying, a new dinner you love the look of but have never got around to tasting, a new tv show... anything! But id recommend trying these over a few days! We always feel a little more alive and excited after doing something which has broken the mould of our day to day life. Listen to a new album and cook up a storm in your kitchen! Savour those new flavours! Does it make you want to try more new things? What about that new TV show everyone is raving about? Watch it and see what you think! It might not be what your after OR it could be the gateway to a new genre you've never liked before. Its exciting to have new things to look forward to, new things to listen to which we just can't get enough of (hello Taylor swifts new album - I am obsessed!) and so much fun tasting new foods. Humans are naturally curious and it makes sense to lean into that in all aspects of our life to reignite our creativity.
Go for a walk
Yes indeed! Take yourself and any pets you have out for a jaunt in the fresh air. Changing our surroundings changes our mindset and fresh air just blows all the cobwebs away! Go to the beach, a park, a walk in the countryside. Take a flask and sip some soup on a bench while you enjoy the winter sunshine, or bring a cold drink and soak up some summer rays! Don't be on your phone now... scrolling can be really detrimental to our mindset and thats what we are resetting. Just enjoy being still. Your mind will naturally start to wander and explore ideas if you are letting it idle away especially in a beautiful environment.
It can be tempting when starting back to just DIVE RIGHT IN and to ry to DO ALL THE THINGS or think "I must create something amazing to post on instagram" Um no. Please stop! Put down your brush and slow down for a minute. If I can give you one piece of advice is please, please create for the act and wonder of being creative rather than for Instagram. We can become entwined with creating only what we think people will like rather than what we want to. So please go in to your studio wanting to create for YOU and not for everyone else.
If you have an amazing idea and all my tips and tricks have made you feel so inspired then by all means GO FOR IT! Thats amazing - and I stay absolutely act on that inspiration. When your muse strikes, absolutely jump on that!
But some of us need a little additional help and thats ok. This is where playing comes in. Grab some brushes (any! in fact I implore you to grab ones which are not your faves to work with) colours (again maybe ones which you haven't used before or are not the usual grabs you go for in your studio) and just start making marks. Pour some water on the paper and see how the paint moves with it, mix new colours - ones which are beautiful and ones which are ugly - try doodling, draw flowers, do a 1 minute self portrait... anything! Just make a mess on that sheet of paper. And on the next one! And the next one after that! I think oftentimes we get sucked into creating the most amazing painting EVER and therefore we feel that every creative session needs to result in the next Mona Lisa. It absolutely does not. You can tell just as much story with mark making as you can with a finished piece. Maybe even more.
Keep playing daily and you'll start to notice that the marks you make are becoming more deliberate, more intentional, more similar. THIS IS IT. You are ready. Get that canvas out and start on something NEW with the same markings you've been exploring. You can do it!
And a wee bonus tip
Sometimes we get locked into creative block because we want to create what another person is doing. I get it. We all have our own fave artists and we admire them so much. We want to create but we sometimes get a bit sidetracked wanting to do similar things to them and get frustrated that we can't. And we don't really WANT to create like that artist, we want to create our own stuff and showcase ourselves in our own unique way... but HOW?!
I'll give you an example. I love the artwork of Katie Daisy. Her florals are so beautiful, I love her countryside vibe, her illustrations are so quirky. But I don't paint like that because I can't paint like her. I can only paint like me. One thing I find when I am locked into creative block is that I am so inspired by someone else and that image or artist etc is sitting in my mind every time I lift a brush. I'm not fully present and looking at my own mark making. It might only be a colour palette or a photo set up in my head, but it can go quickly from being inspired by this person to being blocked because we can't get away from the idea in our heads of what we want to do.
Only when we give ourselves permission to paint like ourselveswill we find that creative flow will keep on coming.
Enjoy creating lovelies! you've got this!