6 things to do when you're facing a creative block

6 things to do when you're facing a creative block

Although this post is dedicated to embroidery and embroidery artists, I believe this topic is relevant for everyone who works in the creative field or has artistic hobby and inspirations. Read this list of suggestions and adjust for yourself and your creative interest.

What is a creative block?

It's when you feel stuck. Stuck at one piece of work that you don't know how to finish. Stuck at the same style or motif you keep repeating over and over while you feel the need to break out of it. Or just stuck with no inspiration for anything at all.

It might feel like you're Alice who just ate the “grow bigger” cookie and ran into the ceiling. This position certainly feels uncomfortable and suffocating, but there are some great news!

If you got stuck somewhere it often means that you outgrew your previous state (for example, your previous style, if we talk specifically about embroidery). It also means that once you get over the creative block you will probably break the ceiling and grow bigger artistic-wise.

What NOT to do when you have a creative block:

Don't pressure and stress yourself.

Inspiration rarely comes in the time of stress and usually comes in the time of peace... That's what I noticed.

I mean, yes, there are cases when you are working on something and the deadline is coming up, so you feel very anxious because you basically don't have anything ready! It's true that it's hard to avoid stress in this type of situation, but sometimes we bring that upon ourselves, don't we?

Lots of us know these situations since high-school and college when we left our homework and assignment untouched till the last day. If you do this and think that your results are always better when the deadline is coming up... well, that's debatable!

But you do you. I'm not your mom, so if you want to leave it till the last moment – it's up to you. But at least, prepare the ground for the final idea before the deadline comes – you can do that using the tips below. It's likely that it will be easier for you to complete the task when the time will be running out when you nurtured your future “idea”.

If you haven't prepared the ground but the result is required right now – at least strive for a stress-free brainstorming. Some of the tips below can also be used in the cases when you are limited in time. Just try maintaining positive confidence!

Stress is generally not the healthiest thing and it does reflect on our bodies and minds... so let's try minimizing it as much as we can :)

And, of course, if you don't have any deadline coming up and you're just feeling frustrated because you're running out of inspiration then just don't pressure yourself and your “muse” to come. It will normally come on their own terms.

What to DO:

Um, basically, nurture and attract your inspiration in a positive way. I will list some ideas on how you can do that!

1. Clear your mind and distract yourself with something

Although it might seem like lounging around, clearing your mind is actually pretty productive because it opens up more space for fresh and new ideas. You can do yoga, do breathing exercises, take a walk and listen to birds and smell the flowers. Or just watch cat videos?? Find something that makes you smile and fill yourself up with new impressions.

2. Activate your senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste

What I mean by activating, is gaining new impressions from these senses. Give a listen to something new (relaxing music, or maybe audiobook or podcast – it is still an impression you receive from hearing). Eat a delicious meal you've always wanted to try. If you limit yourself in sweet things, treat yourself with some pastry! If you barely eat vegetables, give a try to ratatouille. You see the pattern, right? Strive for something new and challenging.

But you don't have to activate all 5 senses, you know? Take it easy.

By the way, when it comes to vision, you can alternate between activating it in a relaxing way or intense way. I wrote before about my visual marathons which I personally find effective. But remember: an intense marathon is not something to do often!

3. Explore what you like

Suppose there is an embroidery work that absolutely fascinates you. It can be something you randomly found on Pinterest, or a work of your favorite embroidery artist, or maybe something you've come across in a museum. Explore that piece in more details!

What fascinates you the most? The technique? The stitches used? Or maybe the color palette speaks to you in some special way. Maybe you like the embroidered shapes, or basically, the design, and how all the elements work together. Something special about the mood or style?

Try to find what resonates with you the most and it can push and inspire you to developing/changing your own style.

By the way, it doesn't have to be an embroidery piece! It can be your favorite photography works, or illustrations, haute-couture fashion. Explore whatever you like and ask yourself questions on why and what exactly attracts you, and how you could translate this fascination in your work.

4. Draw something

There certainly is a reason why adult coloring and doodling became so popular lately. It is not only a great way to de-stress, but also a wonderful tool to activate your imagination. It doesn't matter how good you are at drawing, expressing yourself on a piece of paper will still help. The pencil and your intuition will lead you themselves.

Speaking of embroidery and drawing, I personally believe that nice drawing skills are equal at least half success of neat embroidery. It is because when you draw you get used to small strokes, you develop a better manual dexterity, learn to work with colors.

So, training your drawing skills can, in the long run, help you improve your embroidery! :)

5. Try some new stitches or techniques

You might not notice that but you probably have a set of your most favorite, go-to stitches for the majority of occasions. I'm actually the same! And, generally speaking, I wouldn't say there is something wrong with that. But if we are talking about overcoming a creative slump, then how about broadening our horizons a little and practicing some stitches you would hardly do any other time?

On the other hand, you could also try working and embroidery design that you wouldn't really consider before. Something outside your usual style. Or, you could read some books on embroidery from the new authors you are not familiar with yet. It would also contribute to broadening your perspective.

6. Manage your time on social media

If you find yourself spending too much time on social media, games, and applications – it might actually be the reason for your creative block. Because Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter do take up a lot of your attention and you do pour a lot of yourself there. The more time you spend there, the less fresh and energetic you probably feel during the day. Does it sound familiar?

I'm not telling you to abandon your sm accounts or games completely. Just manage your time – make sure you don't spend more than 30-60 minutes a day on your preferred platform. Once you do that you might find your creative juices starting to flow more abundantly and the inspiration will follow shortly :)

The list is over and I hope some of the ideas will be beneficial for your creativity. 

Remember to not idle on the couch crying about the lack of new inspiration. This will definitely not help. Be more active, take the first step to your muse, nurture your inspiration yourself. Create a fitting environment in your mind (and in your home) to welcome the new idea.

Also, be aware that inspiration can come at the most unexpected times: when you are doing laundry, when you are working out, when you are having guests. So make sure to always have a notebook by your hand to write and doodle down your ideas!


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