Friday, October 17, 2014

21 Ways to Stay Creative - Artists Block

artists block, creative block, writers block, art, top 21,
Artists Block - Cotton Wool Balls as a Brain
Thought I would put this article together about how I deal with creative blocks and what methods I use to ride it out. I think the key to getting over a creative block is forgetting you have got one in the first place. 

1. Scream - You could warn people you are going to do this if you are not on your own as this could make people jump or create some sort of hysteria and this is not what you want. So check for other people and just let it all out, if after 10 seconds you are still screaming and you burst into tears then I think there might be other issues going on. Also I know that some people aren't vocal enough to scream out loud so scream into a pillow or ideally go somewhere like a cave or a valley where the scream will echo back at you which will sound amazing and a lot louder (now I'm daydreaming). 

2. Stomp about in a mood - I get angry about not having any creative juices flowing so I just stomp about like a big baby, especially if there is somebody in the same room/building. I make my presence known by moodily walking past them or annoying them by ruffling up their hair. When you feel like you have stretched this out and your mood is rubbing off on other people, then before everyone starts blaming you and chaos erupts you can move onto the next stage which is to stomp your way out of the house/studio.

3. Get out - I spend way too many hours indoors and no matter what the weather is like we should get out more. This is especially true when the creative block strikes. GET OUT! Switch the computer off and have a walk into town, meet up with a friend or if you haven't got any just buy a cuppa tea and a sandwich and sit and people watch. But try not to be too creepy about it especially if you have just been screaming and stomping about as you might look like a right loony. 

4. Visit an art exhibition - I'm lucky to live near some amazing art galleries and one in particular has exhibitions indoors as well as outdoors in some amazing scenery (Yorkshire Sculpture Park).  This place is usually my first port of call as I can take a picnic there, walk about barefoot on the grass, listen to the wind rustle through the trees, fill my lungs with fresh air, interact with the sculptures outdoors, go for a walk to the second gallery across the fields (have I sold it to you yet?). Sometimes if I go see an art exhibition with creative block I get miffed looking at other artist's work and sulkily think that they must have never had creative block like me and so start to stomp about again, so I'd maybe think of having a plan b. 

5. Visit a museum - This would be a plan b for me as I take myself to any random museum so I am seeing and experiencing something new and I end up forgetting about my creative block. The one museum I have yet to go visit though is the National Coal Mining Museum. It's free which is a bonus but you go down UNDERGROUND for 140m, yeh, not sure about that one yet. 

6. Travel somewhere new  - If you've got a car then close your eyes and point to an area on the map and then jump in your car and drive there. If you haven't got a car then maybe you can get a DayRover (bus/train pass) like I can, which will enable you to jump on and off of trains and buses all day. The DayRover is especially a good one to do as you can get off the bus at any given time which forces you to walk about and then randomly pick a bus stop to wait for your next bus. 

5. Go to the library - I used to be a right bookworm but don't seem to find the time to read anymore. I do like to go into my local library as its peaceful and there is a section with nice comfy chairs where you can sit for as long as you want and take time to read uninterrupted. I tend to go into the library and get out the art books or see who has been writing an autobiography. 

6. Go to second hand shops - I like going into second hand shops as I like to see if they have any vinyl records and if I am with a friend, I like to dare them to try on some crazy outfit that they would never usually dare to wear and vice versa. You can sometimes find old photographs which are interesting to look at or old used postcards that have been sent to relatives with a brief summary of their holiday. 

7. Go to the gym - This can be hard work especially when you have lost your creative drive and you are dragging your feet around, but I have to admit that if you can persuade yourself to go the gym and listen to some pumping tunes and pound away at the treadmill, then before you know it you are bouncing around full of energy. The creative block might still be there but at least you will feel more positive about it. 

8. Do some yoga or pilates - Both of these forms of exercise can help with forgetting about having a creative block and if you can forget about it then you are over half way into getting your creative drive back. They are also an excellent way of realigning your hunch back that you may have created from sitting at a computer all day. Probably not a good exercise to do if you have wind, I know its natural but when somebody lets one go and it sounds like Donald Duck is in the room, I just can't help but laugh. 

9. Go to the theatre/cinema - Depending on what time of day it is then get yourself out and go to the theatre to watch a play or if you can find a cinema with decent movies showing then pop along to watch a film. Failing that, get out a dvd of a film or TV series that makes you laugh. Laughing your boobies off is a great way of forgetting about your creative block. 

10. Go to the pub - If it's ten in the morning then I'm not sure that the landlord would appreciate you banging at the door asking if he will let you in, but the pub is a great place to chat to other people about absolute bollocks (especially when you've had a few). I have been in pubs on my own and by the end of the night I have forgotten the reason I went in and have had a right good night out, usually spent more than I should but hey, it was worth it. 

11. Go see a gig - Tickets to go see bands are getting more and more expensive so being as tight as a budgies bum hole I will go see local bands and find I have a much better night out listening to music I have never heard before. 

12.  Go for a walk - Like going to the gym, it feels like it's the last thing you want to do but if you can drag yourself into the countryside and get that country air pumping in and out of your lungs, it lifts your mood and then you forget about your creative block. Grab your camera too and take a photo every 5 minutes and then when you get home look back at them and bingo! Your creative block has gone. 

13. Clean out your work space - I'm starting to clutch at straws now to drag this list out a bit as I originally wanted to get to 50 ways but I think I will just go with whatever number I end up on. I don't like cleaning at the best of times as its just a waste of my time but I always feel so much better in my head when everything has had a good spring clean. Put some motivational music on really loud (even if its past midnight, one up all up) and get stuck in and don't stop until you're satisfied. 

14. Take a long bath - After you have been cleaning, it might be a good idea to take a long bath with lots of bubbles in so you can create a bubble afro and beard. Motivational music is not required but instead some soft jazz or something dreamy like Norah Jones. Maybe light a few candles around the bathroom and just relax. I can't always do this as I think I will fall asleep and wake up dead (you know what I mean), so I just relax a bit then wake up, relax a bit more and wake up until I look like a prune from been submerged in water for so long. 

15. Cook something different - Never before has it been so easy to find some amazing recipes, so what I like to do is think about a country and then go see what its national dish is and as long as its not cows udder in a cheese sauce I will have a go at cooking and sampling it. Sometimes this can be a bit pricey so work with whatever you have got in your cupboards if money is a bit tight. 

16. Look at what you have achieved so far - I don't do this often enough and it can be so rewarding to do this as you will be surprised at how far you have actually come. Looking back on some of my earlier work makes me cringe but I can also see a growth and seeing this is what might trigger your creativity off again. 

17. Finish some unfinished projects - I have done this a few times now and not only felt a lot better about finishing a project but its kick started my creativity off again. 

18. Take a nap - Not very often can I take a nap during the day unless I have had a few beers and a large Sunday dinner, but the break can help with getting rid of that creative block. It's like you can start a fresh once you've been asleep, it's as if you can draw a line under it and start again. The trouble I have is falling asleep. 

19. Be daring - Sometimes I have to be honest with myself and understand that it is me who is stopping myself from creating something. I daren't just get on with the idea as it might look crap, but the majority of times when you let go of that fear and just dive in and get on with it you will find it looks amazing. Even if it doesn't turn out as you expected, its all part of the learning curve (I feel like my dad saying that). 

20. Pinterest - It is a lethal way of making time go so fast, you just get lost in a world of photographs, recipes, quotes, things to do, style, you name it its on there. It does help with the creative block as you can just lose yourself and let yourself be entertained whilst subliminally feeding your creativity. Be prepared to be wide eyed, wired and full of ideas when you get off Pinterest but also understand that 3 or 4 days may have past and you wont have eaten or slept. 

21. Stay positive - I had to throw this one in at the end as I didn't want to end on an even number. When I have a creative block and somebody is positive around me it just grates me and I know that the positivity has to come from within my annoyed little brain or I don't want to know. Sometimes I like the anger that comes from losing my creative drive as I will use that anger to spur me onto getting my drive back. The thing not to do is sit and dwell on it, the creativity wont come back sitting and waiting for it, so stay positive and get up and do something about it. 

Phew, after writing all that (which is a lot for me) I'm not sure if I have any creativity left. Woooops! If you have any of your own tips to add please do so below in the comments box and I will give them a go if/when the creative block comes back to haunt me. 

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