Friday, July 8, 2016

Creative Blocks & Their Solutions - Off the Wall Friday

The last few weeks, I've given in to a bit of introspection.  I mean, seriously, its not a bad idea to take a bit of time  to do a  self review.  What did I find?  That I'm not really in the middle of a creative block more like a  motivational block.  Of course, a good argument could be made that if I was feeling creative, I wouldn't have any trouble getting motivated.

So I thought I would look at the causes of different creative blocks and some suggestions to help resolve them.  If it doesn't help me - who knows it -  it might help one of you!

4 Creative Blocks

  1.  The Inner Critic - Yeah, we know this guy.  He's the obnoxious fellow that lives in your head and tells you that your work is crap, your not talented and you smell AND why do you even both anyways?!?  Solution???  Stop the comparison game.  Remember why you are creating and hold fast to that.  You are creating first and foremost for you.  Then work on communicating what you want to say.  If the Inner Critic doesn't get it  - well - he probably smells!
  2. Fear - Let's face it,
    making art is a bit scary.  Now I'm not talking, Freddy Krueger scary, but the  kind of scary that comes with revealing to the world a part of yourself.  Maybe the subject is emotionally painful or embarrassing or just plain strange!  Maybe people will disagree with what you are trying to communicate or worse -  not care at allSolution???  Practically  - you'll have to start a routine and start creating no matter what.  Emotionally, you'll have to accept the good with the bad.  There is always acceptance as well as rejection in every avenue of life.  Why not in our art??  Start with that attitude and its easier not to get blind sided when your best friend says she'd rather put her Thomas Kinkaide print up  rather than the piece you offered to her.

  3. Personal Drama - Hey life is messy and at times it can get real messy!  Who can create when your dog dies, your pick up breaks and you run out of beer?  Ooops - sorry - been listening to too much country music - but you get the picture.  There is nothing to be done about these things - they are inevitable.  Solution???  Accept the Inevitable!  Ride out the drama or at least learn to cope with the stress of it.  To quote my friend Kristen, "Don't let yourself get stuck in that awful moment" - ride through it so you can eventually get to the other side.  And yes, I'm old enough to realize that sometimes that easier said than done.  Creative rituals will help - even if its 15 minutes a day.
  4. Swamped & Besieged - The world is too busy, we're too busy.  There are demands on us coming from all directions -  work, family, social, even creative.  Creative???  Yes!  Too many ideas, too many deadlines, too many inspirations, too many classes, too many tools - too many too many's!!  How is a girl suppose to sort through all THAT and get anything done??  Solution??? Set your priorities.  Yes - set limits.  More is NOT more.  Be brutal but cut, cut, cut things out of your life.  Enjoy the quiet and you'll want to creative.

So of course, this is just my opinion and truth be told, I've suffered from all of these at one time or other.  But what do you think??  How have you gotten over blocks??

So What Have You've Been Up to Creatively ?


quiltedfabricart said...

Are you young to the class thing in New York? That will get you out of your funk. You just need to get away from day to day life and stress. You'll come out of it, we all go there from time to time.

Susan Lenz said...

Once upon a time (July 2001), I fired my head mat cutter, down-sized my custom-picture framing shop (which had 14 on payroll at the time ... including my husband), and admitted that I wanted "to be an artist when I grew up". I was 42. I hadn't been in an art class since the 8th grade. I hadn't made more than six or seven little pieces during the previous two years. I've never had a studio art background. This was just a hair-brained idea, an impossible dream, the act of a desperate woman who was killing herself by working 16 - 18 hour days for several years. I had no idea what I was doing but drove to the house of a client, Stephen Chesley, a self-supporting, impressionistic landscape oil painter. He is still my mentor. Stephen said, "Only Susan Lenz can make an original Susan Lenz." There is no comparison. There is no right or wrong or good or bad. The job isn't to "be creative" or "to produce a masterpiece". The job is to JUST DO IT. Within a year I got a studio. I thought I'd made the worst mistake in my life. Inside those four, white walls I sat and wondered where all the brilliant ideas that kept my up at might went. I did not feel talented, creative, artistic, positive or any of the emotions I thought I was going to gain by giving up the life I had. There was only one thing to do ... work through it. JUST DO IT. Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" was a miracle. Along with Stephen Chesley's mentoring, "The Artist's Way" changed my life. I will never be a blocked artist. EVER. That's a very bold statement to write but it is also the truth. It is the truth that happens when one surrenders to the mantra: JUST DO IT. So ... I tell you now ... fifteen years later and still suffering from bouts of low self-esteem and periods of depression and still on the path to self-discovery and still fighting my own mental demons ... "Only Nina-Marie can make an original Nina-Marie". So ... JUST DO IT. Hope this helps. Susan

Bonnie said...

Oh wow....this is me...I have never considered myself to be an artist. I am so darn jealous of those who are. All I seem to be able to do is follow someone else's pattern or idea. My family just thinks I'm wacky because I get so much joy out of looking at fabrics, colors, and designs. When I'm with my quilt loving friends, I feel like the dam breaks and all of my ideas and quilt passion just comes flooding out. I don't know what I would do without those wonderful souls! Low self esteem and bouts of depression...but when I surround myself with supportive, like minded people....well, it's a real catharsis for me :).

Nancy said...

Great post! Sometimes, when I come to standstill I find that looking through my sketches may help, or just pulling out fabric and enjoying it without any expectation or thought of how I will use it. Sometimes, we just need to take a little break to dream, rest, imagine, do something else. And sometimes I just need to pull out some projects that's in the works but doesn't need any decisions -- just quilt blocks sewn together or sashing added. I hope your motivation returns soon!
--Nancy. (ndmessier @,

Regina B Dunn said...

Nina, take a look at a recent blog post I did about this. There are several links you might find useful and you can still join the summer camp activityfor free. Just go to facebook and request to join. Hope to see you there online!

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Nina, sometimes a motivational block is not the same as a creative block. My motivational blocks occur when I am too stressed, too tired or intimidated by the project I'm working on. If I am too stressed or tired, I just take some time off from quilting. A good book or two often does the trick. If it's the project I'm working on that's killing my motivation, I put it away. It's usually because I'm not ready to work on it - often because I'm not confidant or haven't learned that perfect technique that will make this project go the way I want it to. I've learned to trust my instincts. Good luck

Suzanne Kistler said...

Wow! Just saw this post. I've been in a holding pattern for most of the year, without time to quilt. When I have had time, I've been at a loss as to what to work on. To "cure" that block, I signed up for an 8-lesson online course with Katie Pasquini Masopust - talk about motivation! It started on 7/4. It took me until 7/17 to start the first assignment which was due 7/18. wow! A very cold start, but now that I'm going? I can't wait to get into the studio and work on all kinds of things. I had hoped that being forced to complete 8 assignments would at least get me sewing again. Instead, I am thrilled to find that it's been a major breakthrough. I've always said, "Deadlines are my best friend," but even deadlines hadn't worked lately. Getting into the studio and actually stitching? That's what did it.