Don’t you dread the moments when you sit at your desk, stare at the blank canvas and wait for inspiration?

You dive deep into your pool of ideas, but you come up with nothing.

You feel your stress level rise with every passing minute and the whole process makes you feel anything but artistic.

You have been here many times before and wonder if it ever will get any easier.

Regardless of how successful you’re, creative blocks can strike at any time.

I’ve seen often what can get in the way of starting your next painting.
However, I can give you ideas on how to overcome a creative block and tools to prevent them from happening in the first place.

I rely on tool kits to help me work in good and bad times. It’s a bit like a first aid kit. Knowing it’s there gives me peace of mind and helps me soldier on when the going gets tough.

A tool kit is a set of procedures that will ignite your creativity and unlock your originality.

Step by step.

It’s all about you

It might not be obvious all the time, but creativity is part of who you are.

We often treat creativity as if it’s an entity separate from us rather than an inner state. This is why many believe that creativity stems from external places.
As a result, they use Computers and the hustle and bustle of the city in the search for their creative calling.

But they are looking at the wrong place.

Creativity starts with you.

It’s nothing other than “YOU”.

You can achieve creativity anywhere.

Right here, right now.

1. Say hello to your new best friend

notebook

Your new best friend is a notepad.

Get a small A6 notepad and keep it with you at all times.

Observe everything and write down what you see and notice.

The world is your oyster.
Take in the information around you and you will start noticing possibilities everywhere.

Inspiration and ideas often arise out of nowhere, so write them in your notepad when they show up.

Stick to burst of words and small sentences.

Think of your notepad as the fuel for your creativity. It will drive you forward.

I love how Notepads make ideas visible.

Great things happen when elements of your notes start to fit together. It’s a bit like a puzzle. Bit by bit you start to see a bigger picture. Each piece of the puzzle is a connection, a narrative  that you would have missed before.

It’s surprising how many people don’t record things but rely on their memory instead. Like dreams, ideas evaporate in the light of the day. A notepad keeps them in one place.

Tip

Try to fill one page of your notepad per day.
Fill it with insignificant observations.
Random words and connections spark future possibilities.

Keep in mind that very few ideas emerge from a notepad as a complete concept.
Start with a small idea and turn it into a more developed project at a later stage.

2. Cultivate Persistence

Persistence is a quality that will bring out excellence in you. It gives you the ability to stick to something, regardsless how long it takes or how difficult it gets.

The key to persistence is small steps every day.

Energy and persistence conquer all things. -Benjamin Franklin

The majority of artists quit before they even start or they quit in the middle of their journey. Don’t be one of them.

Identify how you want your art career to develop. What does succes look like for you?

What motivates you?
Creating and selling art takes time and patience. If you don’t have enough motivation, a reason why want to make art, you probably can never get there. But if you’re motivated then you will you keep pushing yourself to keep going.

Outlining the steps needed to achieve what you want.
Take small is small steps every day toward your goal.

Tip

Are you up for a challenge?

Try to use your notepad for 10 minutes. Write down anything that you like.

Words, doodles, lists, etc. The key is to be free without paying attention to what you’re doing.

Repeat this exercise for the next 30 days.

You will find yourself in a completely different territory at the end of it.

Start a new page every day and resist the temptation to look back at previous entries.
It’s hard but only check out the content after 30 days.

3. Work hours that suit you

We have all been there. Life gets in the way and we have not painted or used a notepad in weeks.
Most of us have very busy lives but if you’re motivated enough you will find the time.

A daily routine will help you structure your day, stick to your tasks and help you make the most of the time you have.

I’ve completed my art degree while holding down a full-time day job. And working full time from home whilst caring for my three small children. The secret to working under all those conditions is having a schedule and sticking to it.

Many great artists have a schedule in place.

Chris Ofili confessed in an interview with the New York times that he has developed a strict working routine. He arrives at his Studio each morning between 9 and 10 a.m.

Louise Bourgeois would get picked up every morning at 10 a. m. by her assistant who drove her to her Brooklyn studio.

This routine was so engrained that Bourgeois created an artwork titled 10 am is When You Come to Me (2006), featuring her and her assistant’s hands.

Everybody’s schedule will look different. Find out what works for you and establish our own routine.

Where are the free gaps in your day?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Find some time, regardless of how small and schedule it in your calendar.

I don’t know anyone who cannot find 30 minutes a day or couple hours weeks to follow their artistic calling.

4. The list

I love making lists.

A list gets your ideas out of your head and clears your mental space.

I know artists who make a list of what they will paint in the days ahead. This way they don’t waste any studio time thinking about what to do.

They are ready to go.

I always find that when I get started ideas start flowing from all different directions.

Don’t put too much stuff on your list.

Psychologist Roy Baumeister and journalist John Tierney, authors of “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength”, note that the average person has around 150 different tasks at a time. – Sounds like a set up for failure and disappointment.

As tempting as it may be, stop yourself from overstuffing your list.

Before you go to bed write down a few specific tasks you want to get done tomorrow.

Small manageable task.

Then forget about it.

Hit the pillow with a clear mind and let your subconscious work on stuff while you are sleeping.

5. Take time for solitude

woman sitting on a rock

For many artists, solitude can be the key to creating their best work.

Silence and solitude are crucial.

Our world of 24/7 news and constant contact is distracting artists from focusing on their work.

It’s vital that we give ourselves the time alone to permit our minds to wander. Take a moment to clean out the emotional rubbish that clutters your mind.

If you fail to do so you cannot see or think.

Daydreaming and reflecting allows you to get in touch with your inner monologue and creative voice.

So, make it you priority to stop yourself from constantly feeling a need to check in” to all incoming messages

Tip

Try not to reach for your phone to check the news first thing after you wake up. There are so many better ways to wake up.

  • Have your breakfast
  • Listen to music
  • Go for a run
  • Read a book
  • Hang out with your kids
  • Meditate

Even if this is for 10 minutes, give yourself the luxury of time. Don’t check the news or social media updates first thing in the morning.

Nearly every morning come rain or shine I put my son in his pram, and we go for a long walk.

This morning walk is where ideas start, problems are solved, and my focus gets laser sharp.
Walking is good for health and mental wellbeing. So, get outside and take long walks.
Always take your notepad with you and be ready to capture any thoughts or ideas.

neon light writing

Keep going

Of course, breaking through creative blocks is easier said than done. Change can be tricky because we get so used thinking in a way, it becomes ingrained. Apply some new points and discover new ways of thinking. You will notice the big impact a small change can make.

Being committed to doing and sticking with it, it will provoke a positive change in your creative process.

Establish a way of working that protects you from the chaos of the outside world. More importantly, establish a way you want to spend your time and work at it every day no matter what.

Set up a routine which works for you and work at it every day not matter what.

You have control on what you spend our days on. Do your best work one day at a time.

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