There is a dangerous misconception out there that creative blocks only happen to writers, but this is certainly not the case. In fact, the world sees thousands of artists dealing with a similar problem on a day to day basis. Whether it be worry, gray weather, or bad personal circumstances that prohibit your creativity from shining, it can become frustrating and often detrimental to your work if you have no ways of overcoming it. Luckily, with the abundance of artists out there comes a large bank of tips and tricks that many rely on to unlock their ideas and make them come to life.
Cut out any distractions
Often, it can be that the space you work in has become fraught with annoying noises or distracting visuals. Not only this, but your mobile phone or television seem the most tempting whenever you need to start working. When you have nowhere else to go, the space you have becomes your only option. Yet, there are a multitude of ways you can learn to cut out whatever is distracting you so that you can adapt like a fish to water in any situation where you may need to switch off from the outside world. One of the most popular tips is putting your headphones in and listening to music, which encourages emotional stimuli and stops unwanted noise making its way in. Many studies have found that classical music helps reduce blood pressure, so if it’s worry that is your main distraction, this may help soothe racing thoughts, too. Otherwise, the solution to being distracted by your phone is simply to turn it off or hide it in another room.
Make yourself laugh
Pent-up frustrations over not being able to create are ironically building your creative block to an even more impenetrable level. Once you stop feeling stressed about your inability to think clearly, then this will enable you to sit down and work through your block in a calmer state. One of the biggest relievers of anger and stress is laughter. Though laughing may seem out of the question, there are trusted ways of inducing laughter even when you are low. For example, if you ring up a funny friend who can regale you with another story, or if you go online to sites like Christ Like Media to find an abundance of funny videos, you will be able to muster up a smile in no time. The endorphins that are released into your body as you laugh make you feel more positive and open to anything that may help you remove your block.
Find inspiration in nature
The natural world has long been an inspiration to artists across the world. Even if your work doesn’t reflect nature, being around green scenery is known to show immeasurable benefits. The best way you can access nature if you are in a city landscape is by opening a window into your house, where the fresh air will help you feel revitalized. You could even take a walk in the countryside, to combine the creative effects of walking and nature in one go. This will help reduce stress levels, provide a change of scenery from the same workspace, and allow you to take an all-important break. When you return to your space, you can use whatever inspiration you have found – be it internal or external – to help start your piece.
Draw whatever is in your head
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Just as writers are recommended to write down everything that is in their head in a short space of time, artists can also do the same. Your block may have come from having an overwhelming set of ideas which you can’t pinpoint on the page, or from feeling like you have exhausted all your creative efforts on your last project. Either way, given the small time limit of a minute or two to draw, paint, or sculpt whatever is in your head will force your brain into panic mode, and there will be something that emerges that you can use. The trick here is not to worry about it being perfect, as it won’t be from such a short space of time. Moreover, it will help jump start your brain, and could give you some ideas that you can develop into more elaborate ones.
Part of being an artist means that you shouldn’t stay within your comfort zone. When you start to get too comfortable, this is where repetitive themes or creative blocks can arise. It’s a good idea to push yourself sometimes to tackle a theme that is unfamiliar to you, or to play around with colors in a way you might not have done before. You could even pack up all your supplies and work in a new environment, such as in a public place. Providing yourself with new challenges will give you something to work towards and will give you the variety you need when you are looking for inspiration.
Tap into your emotions
Your emotions could well be what are stopping you from working in the first place, but there are many artists whose best work has come from a time in their life when they were feeling particularly low, or when a big life change brought about anxieties. It can be a scary thing to do when tackling your feelings head-on, but it can be the most rewarding experience for you and your artwork. Using your creative process as a cathartic one will help you inject something personal into your work that nobody else will have. If you are struggling to get in touch with your emotions, there are a few ways you can try that will help.
Know that blocks aren’t a bad thing
A lot of the stress that emerges during a creative block can be from a much deeper place than just running out of time. Having a block can sometimes feel like failing, but it is something that every great artist must go through when they are trying to put their best into their work. Once you accept that blocks are not as bad as you think, then you will be able to tackle them with a clearer head each time they roll around. It’s also good to remember that blocks are often a sign that you need to take a break from working so hard.