By J.J. Long
(Image credit: Pexels.com)
As artists we’ve all experienced writers block at some point or another. This is when we look at a blank white canvas for hours on end hoping the painting will paint itself. Or we stare blankly at our journals or computer screens hoping that gnomes will write our next chapter of our book for us. Or maybe you’re at the rehearsal studio and a catchy melody can never seem to muster it’s way through your fingers or vocal chords.
What do you do when creativity isn’t flowing through you? And how do you minimize the amount of time that you experience writer’s block? Today I’m going to give you 5 tips on how to tackle this issue head on. Let’s begin!
1. Do A Brain Dump
A brain dump is when you empty your brain of ideas and mental chatter onto a piece of paper, a computer, a dry erase board, a voice recorder, or any other type of transferable medium. A brain dump is great for a multitude of reasons. A lot of the times throughout the course of a day we actually do have a million great ideas, it’s just that in that moment we don’t remember to do a brain dump and get our ideas into a journal, and as a result those ideas are lost. And then when it comes time for us to sit down and be creative, we experience mental paralysis and our minds aren’t as active because we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves. It’s almost like our minds are experiencing stage fright to some respect.
A brain dump is also good not only to jot down your creative ideas throughout the day, but also to get out the other million non-art related things that are clouding your brain. You may have so many other thoughts running through your head like the grocery list, booking a doctor’s appointment, what to make for dinner, etc. that your brain doesn’t have the time to even think about yourself or your creative passions. So it’s a healthy idea to get ALL of the thoughts out of your head so you can organize yourself a bit and having clearer headspace to allow the creative juices to come to you.
2. Seek Out Inspiring Content
When you hit a mental block, another idea is to seek out inspiring content. Google is a great place to start. If you’re an acrylic painter and you feel like you’re subject matter is getting dull, you can easily do image searches on Google by typing in key words. For example if you want to start doing coastal themed subject matter for your paintings but you don’t know where to start, just type in “coastal paintings” into Google and the images that pop up will give you some great ideas. You can also Google your favorite artists and get inspired that way as well. Sometimes it just takes seeing an image, watching a video, or listening to a song to get inspired.
Another great resource is Youtube. When you visit Youtube, just type in a key word for something that you’re interested in and loads of videos will pop up related to your key words. With Youtube you can look up other great artists and samples of their work, as well as “how to” videos for things related to your art industry, music videos, motivational talks like TED talks, etc. Sometimes having a person talk to you in front of the camera is more powerful than just looking at a photo of something or listening to an audio recording. Test out images, videos, and audio recordings and see which format inspires you the most. Everyone is different.
3. Go to a Celebration of Art
If you’re in a deep rut and trying to find inspiring content from home on the inter-webs isn’t working for you, consider going out to a public event to get inspired. Sometimes being around other people at a public venue can be electrifying and the energy you feel can be just what the doctor ordered to get the creative juices flowing again. It’s also a great way to network with other like minded individuals which is an added perk (bring your business cards!).
What I mean by a celebration of art, is any public venue that showcases an art related activity. So types of venues that come to mind are art galleries, theaters, concert halls, ballrooms, studios, museums, etc. Paying admission to see a creative performance or body of work on exhibit can be extremely inspiring and most definitely get the creative juices flowing. Some other great ideas are to attend seminars, workshops, and other public speaking engagements from inspiring experts in your creative field.
(Image credit: Pexels.com)
4. Start Small with your Creative Projects
Another way to get the creative juices flowing again is to start small with your creative projects and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do a masterpiece in one sitting. Again, when we put too much pressure on ourselves we tend to shut down and nothing creative flows through us. By starting small with creative projects, we’re working on making our art just a daily habit again. Ultimately we want to be immersed in our art and losing track of time because we’re feeling so creative, but if you’re experiencing writer’s block, go back to starting small to build the momentum up again.
So if you’re a visual artist, starting small might be doing one thumbnail sketch a day. If you’re a writer, starting off small might be writing just 200 words in a day. If you’re a musician, starting off small might be practicing a few chords or quickly humming a melody you thought of into the voice memo app on your smart phone. Over time, these small bits of progress will add up to a completed masterpiece. It’s when you don’t take even the smallest bits of action that your dreams don’t come to pass.
5. Schedule “Creative Time” in Your Day
How many of you actually schedule time in your planner every day to work on your craft? If not every day, than how about a couple times a week? The power of putting aside time every day to work on your creative pursuits is truly liberating and empowering. You’re actually putting yourself first and have had a private discussion with yourself already that your art is important to you. And I’m not even talking about a few hours every day. I’m talking about starting with 15mins every day and then scaling up your creative time after it’s become a habit.
I know some of you are saying, “But J.J., I can’t schedule my creative time. My creativity just finds me at different times of the day and I don’t think I could be inspired during a specific block of time every day”. My answer to that is, well when you’re creativity strikes you, in that moment do a brain dump to get your ideas out. Then when you have that block of time reserved for your creative time, that is when you take action on your ideas and begin executing your masterpiece. Believe me, when you start blocking off creative time in your schedule, you’ll make sure not to waste it. You can either use this time as a brainstorming session or you can spend this time hammering away at your craft. Working on your craft every day makes you a polished artist and this will definitely show through in your work.
To Wrap Up
Today I gave you 5 tips on how to get your creative juices flowing as an artist. You can get your creative juices flowing again by doing brain dumps, seeking out inspiring content on the internet, going to a celebration of art like a concert or gallery show, starting off small with your creative projects, and scheduling creative time in your day. What are some other tips and tricks you use to get the creative juices flowing in your own life? I’d love to hear your ideas! To leave a comment, click on the blue “comments” link underneath the facebook and twitter buttons where you can leave a reply. Thanks for tuning in friends!
J.J. Long is the founder and CEO of JJArtworks. J.J. has been professionally painting, singing, acting, writing, teaching, and doing voiceovers for over 13 years. The purpose of our blog is to help artists thrive in their own businesses by sharing valuable and sincere content.