When it comes down to it, this blog is about creativity. Sometimes that takes the form of snail mail, focusing on positivity, or just plain fun. Whatever your creative outlets are, though, I’m sure you’ve experienced some sort of creative block or lack of motivation. We all have. I felt like it was important that I addressed this topic, but instead of me telling you my opinions, I have asked some of my favorite creative souls to share their advice with you.
I think you’re going to find it really helpful. There are some conflicting ideas in here, which I think is great. Creativity is different for every single person, and I’m hoping that you find something here that really resonates with you for finding motivation for creativity! If you do, you might enjoy checking out their space on the internet. Click over, have a look around, and tell them Mary sent you!
What do you do when you are lacking motivation to be creative?
“This usually is a sign that I need to be inspired again. If I can, I like to go to a museum exhibit or gallery, or simply get out of the house, take a walk and look at the world a little differently. When I can’t do that, I look up other people’s work online who inspire me –like Uncustomary, for example! Once I feel revitalized, it’s important that I get to work right away while I am still feeling inspired.” – Olivia Arrow
“I feel very blessed when it comes to finding inspiration–I’ve got the kind of mind that is ALWAYS dancing about and my “To Create” list is always overwhelmingly long. However, sometimes I still need the motivation to actually embark on these creative endeavors. I wish I could say there’s some magic trick to this motivation thing, that there’s a quick or easy or brilliant (or how about all three!) solution, but when it really comes down to it, this is my motivation to be creative: I think about all the amazing things I want to do, and how excited I am about them, and how I could totally start on them tomorrow because right now it’s easier to sit back and eat fudgesicles and Instagram, but I think about how freaking HAPPY I will be if I just put away the technology and I just get to work. It’s not easy, and sometimes there’s a lot of laying on the floor just thinking involved, but it’s only in the moment that I decide that I’m not going to put it (whatever creative “it” thing it is today) off anymore, is when I feel motivated. And then once I start, baby, I can’t be stopped.” – The Confetti Monster
“There are a few main ways that I get myself out of a creative block:
#1- Set a deadline for yourself, or have a reason to be doing what you’re doing (the latter is more effective.) I find when I’m taking a class, or have some other concrete reason to show work, I find a way to make it happen.
#2- Put yourself around people actively creating, and doing the work you want to be doing. Go to a museum, a poetry reading, or to see a show. You’ll be inspired in no time.
#3- Take your mind off of it, and do a simple and/or enjoyable activity. Sometimes we continue the cycle of being blocked simply by thinking about blocked all the time! Take the pressure off yourself by going to the park, reading a book, or riding on public transportation (I find movement especially inspiring and meditative.)” – Chantilly
“I used to tell my students to ‘just do something’ even if it’s cleaning up your studio(you could find something to spark your interest) also places like pinterest have so many creative people doing all sorts of things.. I find lots of ideas of things to try there…it’s always about the process of creating (to me) not the end result…the real joy is in the making-experimenting – doing something you’ve not tried before. Even if it doesn’t work out , it can lead to something wonderful you would have not tried with out the ‘experimenting’.” – Lee
“That depends. Sometimes I just need a break and do some living instead of art’ing (although living surely is an art form, and art is such a big part of life), because that’s where I draw my inspiration from a lot of the time, through coincidental meetings and situations, good conversations, music, movies, day dreaming and soul searching.
Other times I ache SO badly to make something creative, but have no idea what to make! It can actually be aggravating, ha ha. My go-to in those situations are blogs I love, instagram accounts and pinterest. I search for pretty much anything that can inspire me to think outside of the box and embrace the magic, weirdness and all the shades that is life.” – Trine
“Lots of things help me when I’m feeling unmotivated. Sometimes just getting out of the house for a bit does the trick. Even a short walk usually gets my blood pumping again and helps me break out of a slump. It’s even better if I go to one of my favourite places.” – Miss Limboo
“I have found that I have two types of creative blocks.
One of them is when I’ve been working on something for hours and it’s just not coming right.
The other one is when I am too lazy to get a pen and paper together.
When it is the first one, I walk away from the project. I come back to it a day later, see how I feel. If I’m still not happy with how I’m going, I usually scrap it and start again. Something that often works for me is making a mood board, choosing an item for my inspiration, or setting limits. You would think that the restrictions would hamper my creativity but I find that it really helps me get into flow. Usually if I’ve made something within limits, once I’m done I can create something even more amazing outside of the box.
If it is the latter, I’m going to force myself to do it. I no longer believe in “creative moods”, although there are times when it comes easier than usual. I push through the laziness and try come out the other side with something… anything… even if it’s embarrassingly awful. Even if I create rubbish for five hours straight, in the sixth hour, I know I’m going to have something. Plus I’ll have five hours worth of lessons learned. I’ve started scheduling creative time. Creative thinking is a muscle, and it can be taught. That has been my experience.” – Caylee Grey
“Silkworm and I would live uninspired for a bit if we could, but we breathe inspiration fumes, so when the tank runs empty, filling it up is necessary. We especially like to go sailing in our walnut boat to search for inspiration, but otherwise we’ll usually settle for a bike ride or some kind of exploratory adventure. Focusing on bugs or other itty bitty things is also a pretty reliable method, from our experience.” – Carly and Silkworm
“My secret is to have a bunch of creative projects in various phases of completion. That way, there’s always “something” artfully productive to do. Something to match my mood, energy level, time & space available. So that might mean editing an article I drafted a week ago, adding gouache to a drawing or adding words to an art journal page. It’s all about forward momentum!” – Tammy of Daisy Yellow
What advice do you have to someone in a mental block, who feels they lack motivation and inspiration to make the things they love?
“You can try going for a walk – it clears the mind and helps generate good ideas. Seek out those who inspire you and let their intoxicating vibe of creativity infuse your self with inspiration. Put on some music you love that awakens the passionate sides in you – and/or maybe a movie that does the same?!
But, most importantly, and the best advice I can give, is to truly forget about perfection. Allow yourself the pleasure of trying without judging your creations. That way you won’t set boundaries that block your way (‘cause how many of us haven’t given up before we properly try at something, just because it didn’t turn out perfect on the first try), and your ideas are free to unfold. Maybe some of the more «shy» ideas that never dared to peek out earlier due to the weight of perfection-pressure WILL dare to come out now! Also; you can try doing something you love, in order to relax and not think about it for a while. Sometimes all you need is a break.” – Trine
“If you love something you find a way to do it…if you don’t love it- find something else. Try something you’ve never done before. Take a workshop on something you’ve never done. You may find that ‘thing’ you thought you loved wasn’t really what you wanted to be doing. Don’t just think outside the box..make a box…put yourself in a box & create from inside of it…think/create/enjoy the process” – Lee
“If you’re in a creative block, you know your body. If it’s one where you just can’t create, then give yourself a break. Don’t keep thinking about it. It’s like when a couple is struggling to get pregnant. As soon as they stop trying, and stop stressing about it, bam! there’s a little baby.
Practical advice for breaking through the creative block:
+ Try a different kind of craft or way of being creative. Being creative in one way usually spurs on another.
+ Use this time to collect inspiration. Get away from Pinterest, damnit. That’s not real inspiration. Go to a park with your notebook. + Sketch or doodle the things around you even if you’re really bad at it.
+ Keep an Ideas Notebook. Write a list of things you’d like to do. Get specific. Write through the decision making process.
+ Learn something. There are oodles of ecourses and video classes out there. Find something you’re interested in and finally do it.
+ Do something else with your hands. Cook a fantastic dinner.
+ Accomplish something else. Easy things. Once you’ve got a few going, you can build up your courage for the big thing.
+ Have a bath. Take a nap. Paint your toenails.
+ Clear the clutter on your desk.
+ Leave the house.” – Caylee Grey
“I think it’s really easy to go on any type of social media and feel inferior to all the great stuff out there. And, at first, the things you make or put out there might not be that great. But, you’ve got to start somewhere. Someone doesn’t just wake up one day and open up an Etsy shop and have amazing product photos, unless they already have a photography background. So, when you’re feeling like you lack motivation and inspiration, sure, go get on that social media and be overwhelmed with the amazing stuff out there, and then take a walk or dance wildly or doodle or journal or go have tea with a friend and talk, let all the amazing inspiration ruminate in your mind, and then make something of your own. Doesn’t matter if you’re the only one who digs it at first, doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s anything special yet. Just make make make make make and fall in love with your creations and the world will fall in love with you in return.” – The Confetti Monster
“Don’t force it and be kind to yourself. Creativity can’t be forced, so if you’re stuck, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Instead, try doing something else for a little while to give yourself a refreshing break and redirect that stuck energy. Sometimes the best ideas come when you’re doing something else, like working out or cooking or taking a bath. And when the motivation returns, pounce!” – Olivia Arrow
“I would say that you’re probably having a mental block for a reason. First, try to find out what that block is. Why do you feel unmotivated? If it’s a negative reason, how can you turn those thoughts around into positive things? If it’s a logistical reason like lack of time- see if you can carve out 15 minutes here or there after work to make some time for yourself. Then make it 20. Then 30. Etc. Next, take steps to get yourself on the right track again- even if they’re small steps. Like buying yourself some new paints, signing up for a writer’s workshop, or just getting a book about creativity or inspiration. Lastly, put yourself around people who are supportive of your creativity, and understand why you need to be an artist. Don’t try to do it alone! Community is so important.” – Chantilly
“Do something–go for a walk, draw, write a stream of consciousness–and wait patiently. It’s no use trying to light a match by striking it on a surface not meant for striking matches. You’ll just tear it all up ’til there’s nothing left to catch fire. I think the best thing to do is to use your thinking thing–that brilliantly beautiful brain of yours–to think deeply about every little piece of the universe you spot, from a cardinal chirping a song to a dandelion seed floating past your eye. Create stories for everything.” – Carly and Silkworm
“This is a fabulous question! You could follow a journal prompt; this gives you a target or goal and a bunch of constraints. You can also go back to the basics, like drawing repeating patterns with a permanent black marker or india ink. This is calming and meditative and helps your mind focus. It’s also helpful to brainstorm or do a mind map. For example, challenge yourself to write your name or a symbol in 100 different ways.” – Tammy of Daisy Yellow
“Here’s a recipe I often use to get out of a slump:
1. Get dressed into something fun and colourful. Wear your entire badge collection and some cat ears.
2. Go to the craft store and look at all the neat stuff
3. Buy something inexpensive – like a colourful marker pen you are drawn to or glitter glue
4. Maybe buy some really good coffee to try out at home
5. Try something different from what you normally do. Losing motivation for me often comes from feeling like everything takes too much energy and effort and also from being sick of doing the same thing all the time..
6. If you don’t have the energy to do much try looking at inspirational creative blogs.
7. Start small and get carried away.
8. Don’t worry so much
9. Enjoy small moments
10. Garnish with pickles and glitter and you’re ready to go!” – Miss Limboo
Phew! Okay, did we miss anything?! Share your thoughts below.
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