Have you ever felt like you were stuck?

Last week I had a conversation through email with a Sketchbook Stool Student who was experiencing a creative block. I thought you might be interested in this subject of overcoming a creative lull or block, so I’ll share with you what I shared with her.

A creative block can feel as if your creativity has left you. It’s quite scary because it can feel like the joy of making art will never return.

Trust me, it will come back.

What really helped me when I encountered a creative block a while ago, was to let go of the guilt that was creeping up. To let go of the feeling I should be making something, the feeling I should push through this. And to accept the fact that sometimes the well can dry up a little. To accept the fact that it’s okay to not draw, or paint, or make art for a few weeks, or even a few months.

I think the most important and impactful advice I got when I felt stuck was the one Michael Nobbs gave me. He said ‘Koosje, be kind to yourself’.
That helped me to let go and not feel guilty or frustrated.

Even though you may not be painting or drawing for a while, without noticing you are still creative in many other ways. For example, I did a lot of cooking. I enjoyed making videos. And even just deciding what clothes you put on in the morning, is a (seemingly insignificant) small creative process.

At some point, you will feel the spark again

When I felt it, I very carefully picked up a project that I wasn’t going to share with anybody else. I promised myself that it would be okay if I would give up on it when the spark would disappear again. No pressure.
But luckily, it got me going again.

Be Kind

Don’t push it, try to let go, and in the meantime, try to enjoy other things in your life that bring joy. Hang out with friends (it could surprise you how inspiring they can be, in so many ways also not art-related at all). Treat yourself to a fancy cup of coffee, a bunch of flowers, a small piece of art to hang on the wall and inspire you. Relax.

Give it time.