Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Artist's block. Do's and don'ts to beat the BLAHS.

Every once in a while I get what I call artists block. I guess it's sort of like writers block, except it's not a lack of ideas, it's more a lack of motivation. It's a weird feeling because there you have a list of a TON of things you can and should do, but you just feel kind of BLAH. As noble as we all try to be as artists and say that we are always inspired by art... There is a shred of BS to that line.
I don;t think it matters what you do in life, no matter how passionate you are about it, sometimes we just get the "Blahs". 
I'm not comparing careers or anything, but I can say that the BLAHS are a bit more difficult for the artist. Simply because to create art you do need at least a bit of inspiration to make good art. The worst thing you can do is sit there and poor out uninspired art. Everyone can see through it, and most of all you the artist know it. When you make a living with your art, it is important to learn ways to get over it  quickly because deadlines don't wait for anyone. 
So what do I do to get out of this feeling of lethargic creativity? Over the years I have tried many many many many many different things. Because the Blahs are brought on by different things, not every remedy is right for every kind of blah. So naturally, the first step is to figure out what brought this feeling of "Blah" on. This is not always easy. A lot of time it's difficult to slow down in life, meditate, and ask ones self "So what's the story there Sparky?" (sometimes a little self sarcasm helps ease the tension of that first pick at the ice). Sometimes, this could be the very problem we just start going to fast in life and don't meditate.
But if it's a little more deep than that I try to get everything out that I have been thinking about. Often, the BIG issue that is giving you the"Blahs" is something lingering in your head that won;t allow you to focus. It's like getting a sharp pebble in your shoe. You can walk around like, but it's constantly irritating you until you take the shoe off and remove the pebble. 
If your like me, you have a TON of things floating around in your head. Even if I don;t have the BLAHS, I have difficulty organizing my thoughts.
The worst thing you can do is just think "Get over it. Push through it". If it's in the middle of a project your already working on, okay, I'll give you that, but if not, Never just "Get over". Work it out, and fix the issue or it will keep coming back to haunt you.
So here are some things I do to find the problem...
1. I talk to someone. Never doubt the power of human interaction. Talking to people is underrated sometimes. Granted you have to have some one to listen to you, and sometimes you can't find anyone free to talk, but if you can find a helping ear, just talk and listen back.
2. Write it down. This is probably one of the best ways to get things out and figure out what ails your mind. I actually need to do this more. The hard part is starting, but once you do everything starts flowing out. I like to number my thoughts, and then maybe even put a little star or two to denote something that has been on my mind a lot.
3. Write a Blog, Why do you think I'm writing this one right now?:)
4. Meditate, Go hike somewhere quiet in comfortable clothes and just chill. allow your self to completely space out. If you can learn deep meditation skills. Meditation, is sometimes the easiest way to clear your head and find out what the big issue with you is.

Once you find the issue, you have to find a way to fix it, or at least get the wheels in motion so it will be resolved. As I said before there are different remedy's for different BLAHS.

These are some remedies for different things that give me the BLAHS.

1. Exorcise, I am a firm believer that Exorcise helps EVERYTHING. IT's very simple, exorcising makes you feel good physically, it makes you feel good about yourself doing something good for your body, therefore it effects your demeanor and self esteem in countless positive ways. That boost in self esteem can usually help you feel like you can deal with any troubles in life, and helps you see things more clearly. Walks are good, but I find that a good sweat is the best. Get the blood pumpin' so all your focus is on your exorcise. 

2. Eating Healthy, This is similar to Exorcise that it helps everything. Eating an ice cream might give you a jolt of good feeling, but then you feel like crap because you know you just ate crap your body doesn't really want. It's a knock to your self esteem. I don;t ever go HEALTH nut, but you know I opt for a healthy sandwich rather than a Burger or Pizza. Oh I eat bad too, but when I get the BLAHS junk food can put you further into the hole.

3. Go See a movie, I find that this is helpful if your stumped with creativity.  Basically, your getting your mind off of your art, and you let someone else's art inspire you.  For me a good movie will make me feel like creating something good myself, and a good movie will usually spark some sort of conversation afterward, and thus usually sparks an idea to create from. A bad movie is inspiring too. Bad movies make me feel like "I can do something more creative than that". Either way a movie usually gets me past the creative BLAHS.

4. Go do something fun. Anything, just get your mind off things and smile. Sometimes you just need a jolt of laughter and fun.

5. Fix something around the house, Helps you get your mind in the problem solving mode. Thinking step A, to step B might be the best thing for a BLAHS caused by say something wrong in a relationship. Helps you see that if it's broke you can fix it. 

6. Spend some time with friends. Hangin' with friends and hearing about what they are doing can really help you put your issues in perspective. And your friends can sometimes help inspire you. Good for beating Blahs caused by routine (if your routine isn't already hanging with your friends).

7. Deal with it, Sometimes the issue is bigger than you are allowing your self to see it as. At this point you really just have to confront the issue and deal with it head on. If you've got money issue, sit down and figure out ways to make some money. If you're in love, profess that love. If your not getting along with someone sit down and work it out with them. 

Sometimes it takes doing these steps more than once, but as long as you are taking positive steps to get out of the BLAHS you should be cool.

Well, writing this blog has helped me out a bit.
Instead of writing it, I need to go do it.
Till next time...

BTW, I know the image has nothing to do with BLAHS, but I thought it would be fun to post this ancient piece of work I did for self promo. Actually seeing the piece  does inspire me...I see how far I have come since then.  Not just with skills but from where I was in life back then. Wow, that does make me feel good.


  1. GREAT Blog! Thank you for sharing!!!

  2. I think you really nailed it here. I suspect 90% of Creative Block is really just the Blahs and for the same reasons you listed here.

    Man, exercise does help with everything I notice.