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Life After a Creative Block

Thank goodness my muse came back!!   Have you ever suffered a creative block?  I suppose it is not hard to see how blocks come about.  Life happens.  Work obligations, family demands, and life events can throw the sometimes precarious creative process off kilter and put your creating time into a tailspin.  Please don’t despair.  I am writing this to remind you it will come back.

This may not be a magic formula to get you get back creating if this has happened to you but I can offer a few tips that were helpful to me.

  1. Start small- just dibble-dabble when you can.  No pressure, no demands, no deadlines, no agendas other than to just dabble for the heck of it.  

  2. Don’t force it.  If life has really thrown you a curve ball it’s okay to take some time off from creating if your heart is heavy due to other things.  

  3. Try other art mediums or creative outlets.  If you are a painter but blocked, take photographs.  Try your hand at something new and different.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to do this new activity well– allow yourself to just play and get the feel for something different.

  4. Follow your heart- is there something in particular always makes you happy?  Pay attention to that.  Indulge your inner child- let her play! 

  5. Try to avoid extremes in your thinking.  Just because you are not creating now does not mean you won’t ever again.  Think of this as a normal ebb and flow of creating.  In my mind, once a person is an ‘artist’ they are always an artist.  Being artistic and/or creative is the way in which you view the world and not dependant on what you create.  Your creations are a by product or off-shoot of your creative thinking.  

There is an upside to creative blocks.  I spend my non-creating time focusing on non-art related college courses.  I developed some new skills, challenged myself *, and worked full time in a field other than art.  

Things I appreciate more since my creative block;

  1. I am proud of the courses I took and the things I learned.  I worked hard doing things that don’t come as easily to me as art.  I think of myself as a bit more well rounded.  

  2. I appreciate my art for how it makes me feel.  

  3. I see now what a great stress reliever it is for me.  

  4. I feel art is integral to who I am regardless of what I produce.  

  5. I came back to my art a bit more settled and less scattered.  It was like sitting down to a good meal that you want to savor.  I tend to paint fast– which is fine since that is kind of my style but I seem to have a bit more discretion as to what I do with my art.  I believe I am getting the foundation right before jumping right in.  Before I was like a kid in a candy store– I wanted to get right to the painting part with full gusto.  Some of my more spontaneous were my favorites but before my block, I couldn’t slow down as I can now so I had trouble slowing down when I wanted to do more detailed work.  Maybe I got my left brain to kick in a bit more now!  Maybe the downtime for creating art allowed me to become a bit more integrated?  If so that is a very good thing.  

If you find yourself in a similar boat that I was in and are experiencing a creative block let me say this…. it will work itself out.  Take some deep breaths and relax.  The wonderful thing about our artistic and creative minds is although this may outwardly look like non-productive time, it can very well be a time for growth in areas you couldn’t imagine before.  And your art will be there, like a fine meal you can savor when the time is right!  

Best wishes to you!  

Sue Steiner

*  Studying ‘data analysis’ will make you crave art- I guarantee!  

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