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How to Deal with a Creative Block

August 1, 2010

creative blockAs I sit here staring at a blank notepad, I realize the similiarities between blogging and art making. Writing a blog post, like most other creative endeavors, can sometimes be like pulling teeth. And I thought to myself, “how can this be turned into a learning experience?”

Some days just are not conducive to creating art. It could be that you’ve spent your creative energies elsewhere, or that you’re not in the right mood, or that the circumstances aren’t quite right. When it comes to creative blocks, there are two basic ways you can respond: push through it, or ride it out.

Ride the Wave of Non-Creativity

There will be times in your art career when you do not create. It’s best to accept this now.

There can be a lot of guilt associated with not creating. Sometimes our minds and bodies just need a break. At these times, you need to forgive yourself and not torture yourself with things you should be doing. Instead, embrace the hiatus as what it is: a chance to re-energize, re-organize, and re-invest yourself in other activities.

Taking some time off doesn’t mean that you’re not an artist. It doesn’t even mean that you’re a bad artist. It just means that you’re taking a break.

Riding it out isn’t always the best option. You might find that your break lasts longer than you expected, or you may be working under a deadline. In these circumstances, it’s better to push through your creative block.

Pushing Through

Pushing through the block simply means creating anyways, whether you feel like it or not. This can be done in a journalistic way that expresses your frustration. Today’s image is a page from an old sketchbook of mine. I clearly remember feeling the need to do something, but being entirely uninspired. Simply writing the words “why can’t I create?” vented some of that frustration and helped me feel a tiny bit productive.

The important thing to remember when pushing through a creative block is to not put pressure on yourself. Try something simple like doodling and keep the focus on experimentation and play. You could also try enrolling in a class that will give you projects, criteria and deadlines to work with.

Once you get the ball rolling, creativity often takes on a life of its own, much like this blog post! Whatever the cause, creative blocks are frustrating. Ride it out or push through, just don’t stress about it.


And on a completely unrelated note…

Want to Write a Guest Post?

You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be willing to share! Your experience and knowledge is a valuable resource for other artists.

Guest posts are win-win. They provide me with content for my blog in areas outside my experience, but more importantly they provide you with a chance to share your ideas, get exposure for your art and website, and network. All guest posts will include an author’s bio with a link back to your website or blog.

To submit an article, e-mail me at


From → Creativity

  1. “There will be times in your art career when you do not create. It’s best to accept this now.”

    This is the best advice, especially for young artists who are used to just doing and doing and doing.

    when you can’t think of something, just wait!

    • Absolutely! I think it’s a hard concept to accept. We all expect so much from ourselves but sometimes all we need is a little break!

  2. Isabelle permalink

    I am going through something like this right now. It’s my last year in a bachelors degree for animation and I feel uninspired and burnt out. Some say I gotta fight it but I really like your concept of riding it out. I’m so tired of fighting creativity forward and judging myself so harshly that I think I deserve this one. 🙂 so thanks a lot for a great article.

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