Struggling for new ideas? It happens to the best of us, especially when we need creativity the most. Procrastinating can sometimes make it worse, but don’t give up on yourself just yet. Working in the creative industries can be so fun and rewarding, but it also comes with its ups and downs. Often times, our minds are in a fog from our busy schedules, to-do lists, family obligations, work-life, etc. But the good news is, there are ways to move past it! We’ve interviewed some of our featured Intersections artists here at SEAD Gallery and asked them to share their most helpful strategies when it comes to getting over creative blocks. Check out these easy tips below to get your creative juices flowing:
1. TRAVEL: Get out of the same old same old
I try to surround myself with images and things that I think are beautiful. I also learned that traveling (since I am originally from FL and currently in TX) definitely exposes you to new imagery and new things you don’t normally see, so just getting out in the world whether it be in nature, a new town, and new state, or a new country, definitely pushes you to see things in a different way and helps to get over a block.
2. TAKE A STEP BACK: Don’t force it
When I experience creative blocks I take a break and a step back from whatever is giving me trouble. Time spent contemplating creative issues is not time wasted. I almost always find the answers to my problems if I take some time to think about them. Sometimes it feels like the answer just popped into my head, but I know ideas have been rolling around in my brain for a while – when they’re ready they materialize.
My creative blocks come from the introvert’s draining away via the constant activity of life. I am most comfortable taking time with my art, sometimes leaving a project completely for long periods, simply because I can tell that my mind is not yet ready to move on to a next stage. If I were to feel stumped, I am stubborn enough to keep going, but I don’t like to force the timeline. The greater issue for me is knowing what I should do in the back of my mind, but being too timid to try.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BREAK SOME RULES: Let changes happen when necessary
I learned to change medium. I spent many years working in watercolor before switching to acrylics. But I still felt boxed in by conflicting expectations. One day in 2015 I looked up embroidery after seeing the fabulous stitch art of Debbie Armstrong, who is, fortunately, my neighbor. My Internet searches on embroidery lead me to felt-making which was completely foreign to me. I had never seen or heard of such a thing. Today I find fiber art unbelievable liberating in that I have no expectations.
4. PLAY AROUND: Don’t take things so seriously
Creative blocks can be very frustrating when you have the energy and desire to make art but can’t determine what to produce. For me the best way to overcome this is to forgo a structured plan and just begin to be creative. Often playing around with material can lend inspiration to an idea, or new discoveries with a medium.