As an artist, nothing sucks more than being abandoned by your creative muse. There is nothing you can do but stare at the wall, desperately trying to get a hold of that particular something. You’re probably reading this now because you’re in dire need of help to finish whatever passion project you’re working on. But don’t worry, the fact that you’re already trying hard to think means you’re halfway there.
There’s not a single perfect formula in existence that will solve your creativity blackout, but here are some tips that you can mix and match to perfectly feed your starving soul:
1. Take a breather
It is a common and a dangerous misconception that an artist can instantly wisp ideas out of the thin air. This kind of mindset will only bring you nothing but a great deal of annoyance and frustration. So first, breathe. Take your time inhaling and let your spirit and muscles relax. Maybe even catch some zzz’s.
According to a research published at Neurobiology of Memory and Learning, napping for at least an hour daily can significantly improve your state of mind, compared to those who drone on all day without rest. You deserve that rest.
2. Go beyond your thinking space
Let your mind and feet wander. It may be as grand as booking for the next flight to a brand new place or it may be as simple as taking a stroll down your neighborhood. Embark on a journey outside your door because that is where the stories live. It’s in the passing phrases you hear from the strangers, the way the sun’s rays hit the freshly mown grass of your childhood park, or even just getting stuck in a train ride (which frequently happens here) like what happened with J.K. Rowling that made her conjure the magic world of Harry Potter.
Just don’t forget to bring a pad and a pen with you wherever you are because one of the greatest scams of this universe is, “I won’t write it down, I’ll remember it later.”
3. Keep your tabs open
There are lots of art inspirations you can find with our good ol’ trusty pal, Mr. Google. Classic and contemporary works are curated on various websites such as Colossal, Flavor Wire, Art Hound, and Writers’ Digest to name a few. The internet is a rich goldmine of ideas and everything is just a type away from that search bar.
4. Look at things differently
We have been told that an artist should always think outside the box, yet one should also never forget to look what’s inside the box. Like for example, the inconspicuous vase sitting innocently at the far side of your room may just be any ordinary vase holding your fake plant, but who knows, with a just a sprinkle of imagination it may also be the last hidden portal to the lands of dwarves and aliens and all you need to do is to say the magic word.
Creativity is all about connecting existing dots in your own unique way. According to Steve Jobs from his interview in Wired, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” No matter how ordinary or ridiculous an idea is, entertain it. Sometimes, mundanity is the best ingredient in the extraordinary.
5. Just go for it
Always remember that making art is 99% dedication and 1% inspiration and no matter how cliche it sounds, practice makes perfect. If you are a writer, try to read at least a couple of thousand words throughout the day. If you are a painter, experiment with colors and hues. If you are a dancer, grind into those routines no matter its complexity.
Whenever you feel that you’re not enough as an artist, always remember what Bob Ross always say, “ Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”
Being an artist is composed of tears, frustration, anger, and above all, fulfillment. Every artist’s masterpiece takes time to make, even Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa took him a good 14 years to finish it. But you know, ideas are not as elusive as it seems.
Sometimes all it takes is a new set of eyes to see things differently. You’re already getting there, artist.
Art by Julia Cruz