“I am so angry with myself because I cannot do what I should like to do, and at such a moment, one feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of a deep dark well, utterly helpless.”
- Vincent Van Gogh, in one of his letters to his brother, Theo.
Are you stuck in a creative slump and having difficulty seeing past the blank canvas? Don't worry - it happens to the best of us, even Van Gogh! You are not alone if you lose the creative motivation needed to advance in your artistic practice.
Many professional and beginner artists often face this issue at some point along their creative journey. This can be a difficult time, especially when it feels like the passion for creating art is fading away. It's so easy to get discouraged when your ideas won't come together or if you feel like your skills aren't up to par. However, don't despair – there are always ways to reignite your creative spark and get back on track toward inspiration with some dedication and effort.
If you're looking for ways to regain your creative motivation, you've come to the right place! We'll discuss some helpful tips for getting out of your creative slump and making art an enjoyable activity again. So let's get started – roll up those sleeves and embrace this journey towards newfound artistic exploration!
What Is a Creative Slump, and Why Do We Get It?
We've all been there: a creative slump. You're feeling uninspired and unmotivated, and your creative juices have run dry. Creative motivation and energy have left, and it isn't easy to access them. But how do these creative slumps happen?
Creative slumps can be caused by various things, from feeling overwhelmed or depressed to simply running out of creative ideas after a long period of creative output. It may also be caused by the underlying problems and huge changes that we go through in life. Whatever the reason, when you reach this point, it can be frustrating - especially when you want to hop on the imagination train and create something again.
The key to getting out is acceptance. When you feel this way, know that it's normal, and you will get through it. This creative slump may be your sign to either take a break, explore new horizons, or stop comparing your progress to others. The most important thing is to recognize and accept your creative burnout so you can start the journey of finding yourself in your art again.
How Can I Regain My Creative Energy?
Whether you're a painter, a sculptor, a writer, or an illustrator, creative slumps affect artists of all fields. When your art flow needs a pick-me-up, try doing the following tips:
Spend Some Time Outdoors
This goes without saying, but going outside, even for a brisk walk, can do wonders. Not only does it give you a breath of fresh air, but you might even get a sudden spark of inspiration from looking at outside objects and scenery. From flickering street lamps to the wet look of pavements after a rain and the changing colors of trees in Autumn - the outside world has so much beauty to offer in the mundane.
You can even examine the people around you - the intricate and complicated stories of humanity can bring you much content to make art on. All you have to do is look and listen. You'll be surprised at the things you never noticed - even in your own neighborhood!
Even renowned artists, such as Claude Monet and Georgia O'Keeffe, made their most memorable works outside by practicing plein-air painting. Plus, going outside helps you get out of your mind. It's also known that getting some exercise, even from walking, helps stimulate more creativity. So get going to get your creative juices flowing!
Take Trips to Museums, Galleries, and New Places
It's easy to become mired in creative complacency. When you get stuck in a creative slump, why not take a trip somewhere outside of your regular routine? Taking a visit to your local museum, art gallery, or a different city altogether can be just the creative jolt that you need to reignite your creative energy and motivation.
Exploring new places and exhibitions from fellow artists exposes you to more than just a different view - it allows you insight into innovative practices from cultures different from your own. By subjecting yourself to new and exciting experiences, you can create unique connections, metaphors, and imagery - which all eventually turn to a myriad of beautiful art. Through visual and sensory stimulation of sights, sounds, and smells from an unfamiliar place, creative inspiration will soon follow!
Live the Offline Life for a While
Taking time away from social media can be a great way to help you stay creative. With all the noise, distraction, and comparison that comes with social media consumption, it can be hard to focus. Removing the endless stream of external information and thought processes can allow you to turn inward instead - resetting creative blocks and redirecting energy towards your own creative projects.
Set aside time just for yourself so you can engage with offline activities you enjoy such as reading, journaling, exercising, or gardening - it can really make a difference in getting your creative groove back.
Try Guided Meditation, Yoga, and Breathing Exercises
Guided meditation, yoga poses, and breathing exercises can help reboot your creative energy. It is well-known that meditation can offer an immersive experience that calms your mind and helps spark renewed creative motivation.
- To meditate, sit in the lotus position - sit with your legs crossed, and put your palms on top of your knees.
- Then, close your eyes and let your thoughts flow. Whatever comes to your mind while in this state of relaxation, let them pass with no judgment and let them go.
- Remember to inhale and exhale deeply throughout your meditation.
On the other hand, yoga gets the blood flowing throughout your body, releases endorphins, and relaxes you enough to unlock inventive thoughts. Supplementing yoga poses with mindful breathing activities can help you quiet inner doubts.
Through these mindful activities, you can shift your focus away from your struggles and remind yourself to take it one breath at a time. Being relaxed, carefree, and in touch with your emotions are all keys to getting your creative mojo back, so be sure to give these practices a go!
Make a Board of Your Favorite Artwork and Literature
When you are stuck in a creative slump, consider making a board of all your favorite artworks, artists, or literary pieces. This method is a great way to gain creative energy as it inspires innovative ideas and paints an overall picture of success. By referencing the creative works you love, you'll be able to draw motivation and inspiration from them. Additionally, it can help dispel your anxieties and doubts by shifting your focus away from the creative lull and onto accomplishments.
Think of it as a board that signifies your potential. Your favorite artists went through the same creative struggles as you, but they overcame them - and you will too!
Learn New Techniques, Mediums, and Styles
Sometimes, the best way to get new ideas is to get out of your comfort zones. Perhaps you've mastered watercolors - why don't you try working with gouache or alcohol ink instead? Or maybe you've gone from traditional drawing to digital art or tried switching your subjects from portraits to landscapes? Whatever change you decide on, it's good to mix it up and learn a new artistic skill or medium. After all, art is a never-ending cycle of growth - that's what makes it great!
Try taking an online creative class - learning from experienced professionals or even your peers! You may also look through art prompts, books, magazines, or apps specifically designed to help with creative instruction. With patience, dedication, and new methods, you'll soon transcend any creative slumps that appear in your path.
Work Your Way Out Your Slump With These Tips!
It’s normal to feel stuck in a rut from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your passion for art. Slumps are just part of the human experience and remind us that we need to keep taking care of ourselves. Our creativity is always with us. We just have to give it space to express itself.
By understanding how your creative process works and applying some techniques, you can get your motivation back and start producing great work again. Plus, when you finally get your mojo back, take stock of what worked for you and use it as a benchmark for when it happens again.
If you want more inspiring tips, tricks, and works for artists like you, make sure to stay tuned for our Creative Corner blog series!