Overcoming a Creative Block: 3 Simple Things That I've Found Helpful
If you’re a creative, you’ve probably experienced a creative block or two. It can leave you feeling uninspired, fearful, overwhelmed, stuck, frustrated, or all of the above.
I’ve definitely had my share of creative blocks, and some have kept me from creating anything for months on end. It’s not a fun place to be, and the longer it lasts, the harder it feels to get out.
Today, I thought I’d share 3 simple things that have helped me overcome these creative blocks in hopes that they might help you too. I hope these tips are helpful, restful, and restorative.
1. Get off social media.
I think the worst thing you can do to yourself when you’re going through a creative block is to spend your time browsing social media. Why? Because it has a sneaky little way of discouraging you and making you feel like everyone else is creating wonderful things while you aren’t. That comparison game has a tendency to suck you in, feeding an unhealthy mindset during a time when you need encouragement and focus.
When I limit my social media consumption, I’ve found that not only do I have more time for things that are healthier for my mind and body (i.e., journaling, reading, cooking, going for a walk, or taking a nap), but it also gives me the headspace to focus on the ideas, thoughts, and desires that have been quietly sitting in the corner of my brain.
Too much of anything can become a hinderance/distraction to your creative flow, and social media is not an exception. If you’re going through a creative rut, try limiting your time on social media and look for more nourishing ways to spend your time.
2. Take yourself on an Artist’s date.
What is an artist’s date?
“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.” - Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
I used to try to take myself on an artist’s date once a week, but since having a baby, it hasn’t been as easy to do. Still, I try to make time to do things that bring me joy, even if it’s something as small as taking a 10 minute walk or putting on a face mask and watching my favorite TV shows.
The point is to do something that sparks your curiosities, makes you feel good, and fills your inner well. During a time when you might be running low on energy and inspiration, I’ve found that this little act of self-care for your inner artist can make all the difference.
If you need some ideas for artist’s dates, check out this list of 101 Artist’s Date ideas. Some of my personal favorite things to do include going to the local art store, visiting a garden or museum, or sitting at a cafe and enjoying a special drink or pastry.
Start a list today and commit to this weekly date with yourself. Your inner artist will thank you!
3. Give yourself a simple task to get you started again.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” - Pablo Picasso
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes because I’ve found it to be so true. A lot of times, we’re waiting around for inspiration to hit, but honestly, if you want inspiration to find you, you have to meet it halfway.
If you’re an illustrator, maybe you can commit to drawing one item each day one a single page in your sketchbook. If you’re a letterer, maybe you can commit to 26 days of lettering each letter of the alphabet. Whatever the case, try to give yourself a task or project that is simple, mindless, and enjoyable enough to allow you to start showing up again without feeling too stress or pressured.
If you’re having trouble coming up with something, one of these books might be a great place to start. And if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, you might even want to think about starting a mini passion project.
Take it one day at a time and see where it leads you. The good news is that I’ve almost always found that this process leads to greater ideas and creativity.
Creative blocks can manifest themselves in different ways for different people, but I’ve found these 3 simple things to help me overcome them, and I hope you will too.
Most importantly though, remember to be kind and patient with yourself. Sometimes breaks are necessary, and they can provide great opportunities for growth and clarity. Take your time and trust the process :)