You set time aside, have the whole day – maybe you even took off work for your own personal artist retreat, then you sit down at the canvas, the computer, writing table, pottery wheel, drawing table (insert medium here), and then…
Ah… the creative block. Every artist. Every single one, goes through it. It’s all part of the creative process, and if you are just beginning your artistic journey, or if you are exploring a new medium, it may be happening more than you like, and can be incredibly frustrating – especially if your studio time is short, and your desire to create is strong.
If you struggle with lots of creative blocks as you are just getting started, here are 3 tips to speed your creation process and ultimately elevate your art and love your work more!
Build A Routine
From my experience, my biggest creative blocks would come in when I worked with my art intermittently, and didn’t have a routine. I found that when I set a daily routine for myself to wake up my right brain, my creative blocks decreased, my work became more interesting, I was able to speed my creation process because I came up with more creative ideas more quickly, my use of creative time was more productive, and ultimately I enjoyed my artwork much more.
When you build a routine, you not only develop healthy habits around consistent art making, but your brain builds neuro-pathways for you to tap into your creativity more quickly, to speed your creation process.
Think Like An Artist
If you are experiencing creative blocks, it isn’t that you aren’t creative, it’s only because you haven’t woken up or trained up your right brain.
Thinking like an artist means spending time in your right brain. A lot. And the best way to do that is to practice. The more you spend time working in the right brain, the more creative you will be, the better your work will be.
It isn’t because you are boring, brain-dead or dull. It is only because your are out of practice. This is especially true if you work in a very un-creative job all day long, 5 days a week. Office work, left-brain repetitive tasks, and calculating routine can often be creative death. If this is true for you, you just need to build a routine around using your right brain as much as possible in your off-hours to keep your right brain active, engaged and ready to work on a moment’s notice.
To get your creativity engaged and running like a well-oiled machine every day, this next exercise will be a life-saver.
Before I even get out of bed, every morning, I spend as much time as I can creatively daydreaming in the weird, half-asleep, half-awake semi-conscious state you’re in just when you wake up. I do it to make the most of my creative energy before it becomes tainted and withers under the influence of the left-brained should and to-do’s…it’s a boundless place where I can dip into my subconscious, steal meaningful symbolism, and build starts of paintings, book illustrations, rhymes, whole painting series ideas, and best of all, creatively problem solve. It also serves as my daily right-brain planner.
I believe the closest I get to my truest creative self is in this state. I think many artists do actually. I feel like this stage is where I come alive and express as my truest self, before the masks come up and the fixed roles I assume on a daily basis hog the spotlight for air time in my ‘adulting.’ My best children’s book ideas have come from this space too.
Much like when I paint or draw, in this limitless exercise I often lose whole hours of time. Many times, I’ve looked at the clock, and it shows 4:00 AM, but when I take a second look after what seems like only minutes, nearly 2 hours have passed. I am sure quite a few times that is a result of my drifting off to sleep, but I know many times, lost time was not lost at all, but served as constructive creative sourcing.
This time started as luxurious Saturday morning daydreaming, but over time, it evolved into a critical daily practice of planning and mental creation. Some days I only get to spend a few minutes visualizing how I want my day, and my productivity to go. Other times, I raise standing problems and unsurprisingly, by taking advantage of the strong right-brain influence, solve them in new ways I hadn’t yet imagined. I feel like the dream state plays a big role is supporting this creative process. I am sure some of what I dream about spills over into this time, and gets settled on the conscious level too, contributing to a healthier, happier mental place for me as well.
So far, this all sounds a bit clinical but in actual practice, my daily creative intention exercise is dreamy, limitless, wild and filled with symbolism and meaning and possibility, and best of all, is really, really fun. I’ve found that taking even just a little bit of time each day to honor playfulness, creative thinking, and thought without boundaries takes my art much further, and fills my work with more meaning, symbolism and value.
If you struggle with creative blocks, or waste too much time staring at empty computer screens and blank canvases, I suggest trying this creative meditative process out for yourself. Not only is it beneficial for mental health, but in time, you will find yourself coming up with fresh new ideas, get thinking like an artist, and will form strong habits that contribute to creating space every day for your work and for shaping your artistic vision.
The more you do to support your creative work, the better your work will become.