What do you do when you are unable to express yourself through your art? You travel down a dark spiral of guilt and avoidance. Whatever artist you may be, artist block is a universal experience. There isn’t just one reasoning that causes it. Blocks can come from a cumulation of negative things like stress, expectation, disappointment, or self doubt.
So you’re stuck, staring at your half-finished work, or worse, ignoring it totally. Then, you feel guilty because really, you should be working on your art. You want to work on your art, but you can’t and you don’t know why. The more you don’t, the stronger the resentment against yourself grows.
For some, creative blocks can last years, even a lifetime. Most of the time, your art seems pointless, like it’s just a hobby. You belittle your dream. You tell yourself excuses; if only you had time/money/energy to do your art. As these thoughts flow through your head, remember this: it’s never too late.
Regardless of whether you’re a kid or an older adult, there is never a wrong time to return to your art. Your art is what makes you, you. It’s the way you express the essence of your being. Even if it takes you years to return to it, don’t be afraid, it’s like visiting an old friend.
Easier said than done, you say. Then, let’s try something different because what you’re doing now is probably not working. The followings actions will help you free your creative child.
- Keep a journal. Write your stream of consciousness down. Allow yourself to be self loathing and angsty. Get out your demons on paper and put it away.
- Date yourself. Every week, even for an hour, take yourself out on a date. Whether it be shopping, hiking, eating, or going to a movie, get out of the house and do something you enjoy, alone.
- Reframe your paradigm. Ask yourself these questions: When you were younger, what was your family’s attitude toward your art? What is your perception of being an artist now? Are these thoughts your own?
Society says that artists are sad, on drugs, poor until unfathomably rich, it’s about who you know not what you do, etc. Your parents tell you to get a real job, then do your art. You internalize all the negative feedback given to you by the people that surround you and suppress your own desire, delving into a spiral you can’t climb out of.
If your art is what you want to do, then do it. Life will always be a struggle. There will never be enough time, or resources. You have to make it work. Let go of the pain of the past, the pressures of the present, and the unknown of the future. Ignore the negativity building up inside you and allow yourself to be imperfect in the process.
Regaining your creativity may take time, be patient with yourself, allow your work to speak for itself. Even if you don’t think it’s good enough, keep going and it will be. You are the only one who can do what you do. The time you fail as an artist, is the moment you give up. And always, love yourself.