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What To Do If You Have Artists' Block

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut, like you're not making any progress or you've run out of new ideas? Waiting for inspiration to strike, but it just won't?

Call it art block, creative block, whatever it is - it's definitely happened to me... And this is how I've learned to deal with it!

The key is to recognize that it's a temporary state, and to recognise that you can reignite your motivation by taking small actions, even if you don't feel inspired at all. Here's my step by step advice...

1. Accept how you feel - it's inevitable, and totally normal.

Life can have its moments of boredom and stillness, followed by sudden bursts of activity and progress. Recognize that this is just a natural pattern of life. You're not alone in feeling less motivated at times.

Accepting that these ups and downs are just a part of the journey is the first step towards regaining your momentum.

2. Action leads to motivation, not the other way around.

Waiting for motivation to strike out of nowhere is a romantic idea, but it's just not how the human brain works. Instead, you need to take that first small action to jumpstart your motivation. Do some simple art exercises, sketch your room, practice your colour theory by mixing new colours from the primaries... It might seem insignificant, but every action you take builds momentum. By getting yourself moving, you create a positive feedback loop that fuels your motivation and propels you forward.

3. Embrace progress, and have patience

Don't expect your small action to suddenly unlock everything. However, it's crucial to acknowledge that progress comes in various forms. Whether it's a tiny step or a significant leap, each action you take contributes to your overall growth. Celebrate even the smallest achievements along the way, and remember that progress is a journey, not an overnight transformation. Know that by starting, you're getting into a good rhythm. It's not about what you make, but the fact that you're spending time building positive momentum.

4. Keep moving no matter what

The most important thing is to keep moving, even if it's at a slow pace. Engage with your creativity, experiment with new techniques, and challenge yourself. With each stroke, you'll feel a renewed sense of accomplishment, and your motivation will continue to flourish.

I like to think of Newton's law of motion - a body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion. You need to start moving in order to then gain the motivation keep moving. And until that point, you have to keep pushing yourself forward no matter what.

5. Imagine your future self looking back

Lastly, be gentle with yourself. Don't beat yourself up about how your feeling, or fall into patterns of blame or shame or guilt. Remember that in ten years, this will be just a small blip in your journey. Embrace imperfections, learn from setbacks, and keep your focus on the bigger picture.

I hope this helps you break your creative block

Feeling unmotivated and uninspired is so normal, it's one of life's intrinsic patterns to have highs and lows. Recognising that is important, because then you can get past the self-criticism and frustration and simply start moving.

They key takeaway I'm trying to share is this. Motivation is not something you wait for; it's something you cultivate through action. Don't wait for it to magically appear - instead, take one tiny, small action today. And tomorrow. And just keep going until you build up momentum and I promise, ideas and inspiration will start coming to you naturally.

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