A vibrant painting of a person sitting in a lake with a large willow tree above them.

Inspiration – A Commentary on Artist’s Block

Hey guys! Well this is my third post. I’m still not exactly sure what direction this blog is going to go in, but I think I like how it’s going so far. If ya’ll have any suggestions or comments, feel free to say something in the comment section below. Now on with the post!

“I just don’t know what to draw (or write).” I can’t think of anything at all. UGHHGHG” (Profuse keyboard clicking, possibly followed by a swift swig of coffee)

Artist’s block. It’s something that has plagued any of us who have chosen to pursue creative endeavors. It can happen to painters, musicians, writers, mathematicians, and even engineers. It is the bane of an artist’s existence. The quintessential hell to our heaven. The darkness in the light… I think you get the point. But it really does suck. It’s the worst feeling to sit there for hours and not know what to create. So, if you are an artist or a thinker and you’ve ever suffered from artist block, here are a few tips that I’ve found that can really help get the ball rolling.

I sound like one of those attorney ads… “Are you suffering from chronic artist’s block?” Finger points at you, “Then we are here to help! Just call 1-800-Artists. We inspire for you!”

Anyways, as I said before, artist’s block is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to us, and in my opinion it is something that is almost completely unavoidable at times. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be an opportunity. A chance to start something knew, completely reform your style, or discover even more secrets of the universe (yes, I think scientists are artists too).

First and foremost, I think that the absolute worst thing you can do if you are suffering from artist’s block is give up. In fact, I think that may be counter intuitive to fixing the issue. All giving up will do is put you into a negative mindset that won’t allow you to really get past the bump in the road. Giving up when you have artist’s block, especially if you really want to create, but feel like you can’t, is just as ridiculous as stopping at a speed bump on the road and turning around because it looks freaky.

“Well, Jim, looks like we gotta turn around.”

“Why’s that?”

“Speed bump.”

“Oof. I guess we should just go home.”

A vibrant painting of a person sitting in a lake with a large willow tree above them.
A painting of a person lost in thought, by Sam Perin

However, on the flip side of this, it is in fact sometimes counter productive to keep trying to force yourself to create. So both extremes can be bad — giving up, and forcing yourself too hard to create. As I mentioned at the end of my last post “It’s Complicated” sometimes the best medicine for mental things in life is life itself, and I truly believe that. So, one thing that I highly recommend if you are suffering from artist’s block is to not give up, and don’t force yourself to create, but simply put your project on hold and go out and live life. Go to a bar with friends, go to a cafe, go see a movie. Just get out and experience the world, and surely you’ll find some inspiration in your adventures. Be warned though, don’t stress about trying to come up with something the entire time you’re out. In fact, just try to put your project in the back of your mind and enjoy your brand new experiences, then re-examine what you were working on before, after you’ve returned to wherever it is that you create. Doing this won’t always help, especially if it’s particularly bad artist block (or if you’ve gotten yourself into that negative mindset we’re all familiar with), so you may have to try other things as well.

Another technique that I’ve found has really helped me when it comes to artist’s block is practicing exercises. Try to take inspiration from all around you. Much like the painting that is the feature painting for this article, inspiration is truly all around. Heck, you could even make a drawing of a pencil, or write about your desk eraser. You’re work while blocked doesn’t always have to be the next Pablo Picasso. So it’s okay if its something silly, the point of the exercise is to just get your gears turning and instill some inspiration into your soul. You could even write about something personal, draw scenes from your day, or do something more technical. Just do something related to your craft, but don’t force yourself to be creative. Sometimes it’s okay to not make something remarkable and just practice.

Something else that has really helped me when I’ve got bad artist’s block is listening to music or looking at other people’s art or photos. It won’t necessarily work for every type of artist, but for those whom it does work for, it can be incredibly helpful. Sometimes even just seeing one or two paintings can inspire an entire new world in my head. Not only is it incredibly cool to see other people’s art, but it can provide brand new ideas and get your mind really thinking.

Inspiration

When it comes to inspiration, which is the driving force behind artist’s block and creativity, I think that it is important to learn to pull inspiration from everything and anything around you. From the birds flying high in the sky looking down on us as tiny ants, to the casually growing grass just outside your door. A pencil could turn into a spaceship, and that spaceship could turn into an entire universe. Or a bird could be flying home to their bird keeper, whom runs a detective agency that uses birds as their reconnaissance. Everything around you, even things that seem mundane and every day can instill inspiration from worlds never before experienced.

So what’s the point?

What I’m getting at, is that if you are a musician, a painter, a mathematician, a writer, or any type of artist, and you are suffering from anti-creativity syndrome, sometimes the absolute worst thing you can do is just give up. Yes, taking a break may help, but don’t give up, and don’t let your mind fall into a negative mindset. I know it’s frustrating, trust me I know it’s so so frustrating. But it’ll come to pass one day, and when it does you’ll be creating things beyond your wildest dreams. In the meantime just live your life, make new awesome experiences, and practice practice practice!

Thank you so much for reading this post. Artist’s block can be so frustrating, and I just wanted to share my personal view point on it. I hope that it’s been helpful in some way to you. Don’t forget to follow your own passions in life! Have a great day!

 

 

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