Three ways to end a creative block, right this very instant.

noncomplianceFirst of all, sit down. Clear a place on the couch and sit your ass down. Creative blocks are evil. I mean evil, wicked, bad things that get all of us at some point. I hate when it happens, and the worst is when you get into that feedback loop- you know, worrying about it and trying to start working on stuff, but it won’t come, so then you worry some more, then try and you still can’t do anything, and so you worry…that worry and fear is the root of it, sometimes, and it can turn into a neverending battle.

Other times a block isn’t really a block- it’s that you have fed your head so much that it is still processing. You’ve taken in a lot of inspiring work or ideas lately from other artists, and now your brain needs some down time in the dark to ferment it all into delicious beer. (or bread. whatever.) Either way, you can end it. You actually can end it, but it’s going to suck, just like breaking down a real wall sucks and is heavy work. It’s not easy but it’s pretty much dead simple.

1. Stop doing everything else right now, and sit down.

Take out a pencil, and describe (in words or by drawing) what you are sitting on. What do you see from your angle? Draw it, write it. I know it is stupid and seems pointless and uninspired but just fucking do it. Done? Ok now draw or write about the floor underneath what you’re sitting on. Again- seems pointless. Feels frustrating. Waste of paper, yeah I know. Just do it. No, don’t get up for another cup of coffee or turn on your phone. I swear nobody has messaged you and you are not that thirsty. Just draw the damn floor. Done?

Ok now draw your feet. I know. Annoying. You’re sick of this already. Just draw your damn feet.

Ok now. Draw an eye or describe an eye. Any eye. Feels good, huh? Like you just got done doing crappy dishes and suddenly got to go outside. There’s the thread, grab it. Now you have your desire to represent things back.


2. Sit down. Pick up the first drawing/writing tool you can see or reach from where you sat.

The closest thing. Now the closest piece of paper.Using only that tool and that paper, draw a tree or write about one. Fill the entire sheet. If it’s tiny, you should still take half an hour to do this. If it’s huge, keep going until it’s pretty much full. Do NOT sharpen the pencil, get another pen. USE ONLY THE ONE THING TO DO THIS.

If that means you have to spit on your finger to smudge stuff because you can’t get any more ink out, too bad. If it means you have to gnaw the pencil to sharpen it, too damn bad. Do it. Now pick up the next closest piece of paper. Fill that one with plants of any kind. Same exercise, but plants. I know this sucks but just do it.

Ok now. Feeling aggravated yet? Go to your supplies and pick up ANYTHING you want, any paper, any tools. Draw a tree for a long as you like, or a plant. Now you have your hands back.

3. Stand up. Go outside. Do not bring any tools with which to write or draw with you.

Stay standing (only sit if you can’t stand for real physical reasons). Walk at least a block. As you walk, look for faces on objects. A car that looks like it has eyebrows, a power outlet with a mouth. Find as many faces as you can. Don’t count them, and stay outside for at least half an hour. No drawing, writing, texting, phone. Just looking for faces.

Now, go back inside and sit down. Take a rag or paper towel and get it damp with some ink (any kind of ink or paint or even dirt will do, as long as its damp and will make a stain on paper). Crinkle and crumple it into a messy, loose ball. Press it gently to a clean piece of paper.Go get some coffee, sharpen a pencil, or check your phone. Stay away for at least ten minutes.Come back and look at the paper you stained. Are there faces there? Trees? Buildings? What do you see?

Don’t draw or write about it. Just look at it. See what you can find in it. Spend at least half an hour doing this. Seriously. Annoying? Yeah. Keep going.Don’t draw or write anything for at least three hours.

Take the night off entirely, even.Then. THEN. Throw that paper out. Repeat this entire process until you get to the stained paper staring-contest. NOW, now draw what you see or describe it. Ok now. You have your imagination back.

These are temporary fixes. They’re just ways to train yourself to WANT to draw freely, to want to draw with your variety of tools, to want to have visions. Like any training, it’s a pain in the ass. Like any work, artwork is hard sometimes.
If none of these work- draw your hands. A hundred times. That’s what I’ve always been told. Good luck.