Going with the Flow: How to Embrace Artist Block and Bring Back Your Muse!


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Here We Go Again...

I have had a creative block for what feels like weeks now.  The blistering heat of triple digit weather -anywhere from 100-108F for the last few weeks, along with a drought have really put a damper on trying to create for the upcoming fall and winter Holiday seasons.  One of my go to methods for combating this is to just start putting paint on paper, which I tried.  And the result was just paint on paper. I had no motivation or ideas to go any further.   Pretty underwhelming, but a nice background start for a future art piece so not a waste.

mixed media background image in pink, green and yellow
At least I got a background start for another day!

As an artist, I've encountered my fair share of creative blocks - those moments when my muse seems to have taken an extended vacation and the once-flowing ideas have suddenly deserted me so this is nothing new.  It's something that I believe all creatives have experienced throughout time. However, having experienced this over and over, I've come to realize that giving in to these creative slumps isn't a defeat; it's a chance to explore alternative avenues that can revitalize my artistic spirit and coax my muse back to me. So I was inspired to write this post in hopes of helping those of you in a creative slump to not feel alone and maybe help you out of it!

Understanding the Creative Block

Having a creative block can be frustrating and actively trying to force ideas rarely leads to work that you are happy with.  It doesn't equate to a lack of talent or imagination. It's just a natural stage within the creative cycle.  So instead of trying to (usually unsuccessfully) fight against it, I've come to acknowledge that sometimes stepping away from my painting or Zazzle designing is the best way to handle an artist block.  Strangely, sometimes, the harder I push myself, the more distant inspiration becomes.  I know not everyone has the privilege of being able to stop, but if you do, it can help curb mental fatigue or burnout before it happens. 

My german shepherd in my garden, nature to overcome creative block
My best friend in a little corner of my garden

The Power of Distraction in Nature

Over the last year I have taken up gardening.  I have never been much of an outdoor person, but now one of my favorite ways to combat a creative block is by immersing myself in nature. Whether it's tending to my garden or playing with my dog, walking through my wooded property, or simply basking in the sunlight and grounding with bare feet in the grass and my hands in the dirt, the natural world has an incredible ability to recharge me and make me feel at peace.  So even though it feels like it has been a million degrees outside, I still try to take a few sunshine breaks throughout the day.  It really helps my mental state. The beautiful colors, sounds of the wind chimes and chirping birds, watching the humming birds drink, and scents of nature have a calming effect that help me forget about the stress of trying to come up with new ideas and can sometimes spark new ones.

scrapbooking page on a desk
A messy view of my scrapbooking hobby!

Switch up Your Creative Outlet

Immersing yourself in other creative hobbies can also help in the battle against artist block. I personally love to scrapbook, craft, cook, and bake for my family; and activities like  photography, journaling and writing, or sculpting can offer a different outlet for your creativity and encourages you to explore new techniques, textures, and themes. I've found that engaging in these hobbies often sparks unexpected connections that can later be woven into my painting and art journaling.  If nothing else they are a great way to take your mind off of your current block.  So try something new with no expectations for the outcome other than the joy of doing it and see if that helps lure back your muse!

image of curated book shelf
I love books and have shelves full and stacks everywhere- (pretend you don't see all the dust)!

Reading, Watching, and Escaping: Fuel for Imagination

When a creative block strikes, seeking comfort in the world of cozy books or indulging in a binge-watching session of my favorite shows or movies can be surprisingly freeing. Reading a book transports me to different worlds and perspectives and expands my imagination, while watching my favorites on screen offers a reprieve from overthinking my creative struggles. These activities grant my mind a much-needed break and often spark new inspirations through beautiful scenery, quirky characters, and creative and colorful costumes and sets.

girl drinking coffee in a bubble bath
Bubble bath for self care (image from Canva)

Self Care to Bring Back Your Creativity

Pampering yourself can be a good way to recharge and get your creativity back.  Give yourself a mani pedi, take a bubble bath, or even just straightening up your craft table or the room around you and lighting a candle or diffusing your favorite essential oil can be an act of self love. We thrive when we feel content and relaxed so give yourself a relaxed calming atmosphere or do a little something just for yourself and you may be surprised how fast your ideas come flooding back.

woman doing yoga at sunset
Physical activity for distraction from artist block (image from Canva)

Physical Activities: Channeling Energy and Momentum

I don't have any interest in sports, preferring a leisurely meandering walk, but focusing on physical activities like sports, going to the gym, or doing yoga can also be an effective strategy to overcome creative stagnation. Participating in sports or regular exercise not only energizes your body, but also stimulates your mind. The rush of endorphins can help get rid of the mental blocks that hinder creativity, allowing ideas to flow more freely.  This is actually something I definitely need to try more as it benefits your whole mind, body, and spirit.

Wrapping it Up

While creative blocks are inevitable, they can also help give you a much needed break by allowing you to turn your attention to other things that you enjoy. From reconnecting with nature to exploring other creative hobbies and focusing on physical activities, these methods have proven invaluable in rejuvenating my creativity. Instead of battling against the artist block, I now see it as a chance to broaden my horizons by trying something new or going back to an old standby and emerge refreshed and more inspired than before when inspiration strikes.

May your muse never leave you, but, if she does, I hope that these ideas can inspire you to step back and embrace your next creative block instead of fighting against it!

Let me know in the comments how you handle artist block.  Do you try any of these techniques, keep pushing through, or do something completely different?

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