Everyone has been there.
You want to create something beautiful, something spectacular. Photography, painting, drawing, writing, crafting, etc. You know what you want to be good at or what you are already good at but there is that void in your mind where ideas used to be. You scroll through tumblr and Pinterest searching for any source of inspiration. You gaze upon your peers' work, feeling jealous of their talents and their ability to spew out gorgeous pieces of art or literature as if it comes easy to them.
What you forget is, EVERYONE goes through this.
So how do each of us get a handle on our creative blocks so that we can start making art again?
You need to stop being a broken record. We all have our own little ways of doing things. But when you start off every project the same way before you are even aware of it all your pieces start to look too similar and your work begins to lack any life. Your art becomes boring and repetitive. Whether you are using the same poses for a model, the same lighting tricks, the same outline for a poem or story, what have you, it becomes a lack luster affair of comfort zones. You need to force yourself to take a big step back and study that safety net of tricks you have locked yourself into. When you step over that line and venture into new ways of making art, you will notice your work coming back from the dead.
You need to realize that the world is not constantly watching you, nor does it really care. When you do have this amazing idea, you get excited, and head to the drawing board to sketch and write out exactly what you are thinking. As your excitement grows, a prickle of darkness enters your mind saying, "But what will everyone think of this? Do you really think this idea will make a difference? Do you really think people will look at this idea and like it?" And then you do something extremely stupid: you listen to that voice. Your excitement starts to wane and your spirits falter. Your big idea starts to feel fuzzy in your head as your self confidence shrivels at the thought of putting so much work into something that no one will like. Funny thing is, you haven't even shown the piece to anyone yet so you have no clue what people would think. Another thing, art is for you, not anyone else. As much as you think the world gives two shits about your art, it doesn't. People see art, take it in, and move on. Opinions of the world do not matter. What matters, is what you are needing to create.
Instead of getting inspired by other artists, you choose to copy them and that needs to stop. There is a huge difference between being inspired and copying someone. Finding a picture on Pinterest or tumblr and posting it on Facebook saying, "I want to recreate this shot!" and then trying to duplicate the picture is not creative and it is not art. Being afraid to try out your own ideas and opting to just copy other work is stunting your growth and creativity. People do not look up to people who just recreates overdone pieces of art. People look up to people who are not scared to try something new, even if it fails.
Stop overthinking every single little thing you do. Creating should come naturally and it should be fun. The more you think about the project you are trying to accomplish, the harder it will be to make it a successful piece of art. Putting stress on yourself about creating is not helping you create. Stop thinking, stop second guessing, it is causing you to fail. Go with the flow, let yourself go.
Be more risky. Along with not being a broken record, the opposite would be to be more risky and try new things. Some of my best photos have been when I stepped outside my comfort zone and decided to try that weird idea that doesn't make sense but could maybe turn out good. And sometimes, it ended up looking dumb and didn't work right. But other times, because I chose to go outside the line and try something strange, it became one of my most popular photos. Take risks, you never know what will come out of it.
Get out more. Sometimes I find that the best way to get my juices flowing is to get outside my damn house. Going up into the mountains, going to a coffee shop, taking a walk in the city at night, going on a drive into a new town or landscape, breathing in new air. Getting outside the confinements of your home or work gets certain chemicals in your brain pumping and can get you looking forward to new things. A lot of times my best ideas come from getting outside my normal habitat.
Stop thinking about who you are trying to impress and instead focus on why you got into art in the first place. There are times when I look at my art and think, "I hope so and so likes this" or "I wonder what so and so will think of this." I get caught up in who I am trying to make art for, instead of remembering why I began creating. I stopped doing art for me, and began doing it for other people's acceptance. It stumped my creative flow. I could not think of what to create next. It was not until I remembered that I did art for therapy, for me, that I began to grow again.
Get out of your safety net of people. Yeah, it's true, it is good to hang out with people that are similar to us. But living a creative life can get tough when you are constantly surrounded by people too much like you, do the same sort of creative work as you, etc. You are around nothing new. When you reach out into other social circles you can have your eyes opened to new ways of thinking and creating. Say you and your friends are all into water colors. All you guys know is how to make a perfect watercolor painting. But you are stumped. You want to grow but do not know how. Then you meet this man who specializes in oil painting. You are completely intrigued and end up bringing oils into your art. Your other friends are interested as well, and ask you to teach them what you have learned. You were able to grow in your art by stepping out and hanging out with someone different than you. You allowed yourself to be open to learning something new. Friends who are like you are great. But sometimes in order to grow you need to introduce yourself to someone new that you cannot relate to as much.
Need a break? Take one. I suffer with this above everything else. I never know when to take a couple days off and recuperate. But it kills creativity! You need to allow your body and brain rest in order to think clearly to get those ideas healthily pushed out. Give yourself multiple breaks throughout your life as an artist. It is a must to healthy.
Having creative blocks is common for everyone. But it is possible to overcome and possible to avoid! Take the time to observe the reasons you are not succeeding in the ways you wish you were. When you are able to recognize your issues, you can then take action to get rid of them.
Photos by me.
Follow me on IG! @alexandrajane21 and @allie.bienvenue.photo