Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ways to Get Unstuck

Susan Swartz says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:37 am
I am stuck creatively at the moment, and have been for some time. Don’t know quite how to get unstuck. Usually organizing paints, yarns, beads helps: just fondling the textures, viewing the colors and visualizing but this time it hasn’t worked. Nor has nature, which has gone through summer and now into leaves falling and chillier weather. I just can’t seem to pull it together: I am 2 swaps behind in artquilt postcards with a 3rd coming due; I started a jewelry business and was excited enough to buy (and organize) boxes full of new materials, but have an empty etsy shop. I went to Bead & Button and came home with lots of new projects and ideas I was excited about but have stalled on those. I keep cutting out photos and printing out projects but nothing grabs me. So I’m left with knitting a safe baby sweater and a scarf just to keep my hands busy. Help!
susan w says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:37 am
If I had ……. _____ would have happened.
If I had….. ____ wouldn’t have happened.
The tough part is recognizing those IF signs and acting with intention. No regrets, just lessons learned.
Mary Ellen says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:51 am
I find setting up a “play date” with another creative person gets me going again. WE can play with making art, by seeing art in shows, museums, or even prowling bookstores and by visiting art supply stores. Once we get started again, everything stars to look like an art supply store to me! Then I can drag my treasures back into my studio to feed my hungry art-beast.

Jan Scarborough says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:56 am
I keep a journal (or should I now say journals) of notes, sketches and ideas. When I’m stuck creatively, going through these usually gets me going again.
Lillian Mederak says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:59 am
I do get in a creative rut once in a while too.
What works for me is doing something totally different….just forget about it for a while
Read a book….
get together with a friend
Your mind just needs a break!
Suzanne B says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm
For me, viewing work of others is always inspiring. Sometimes, the best source for me, is just looking at advertistments in magazines. I notice color combinations, placement of text, font style and size,etc and try to study the ads that really grab me and make me want to look at them.
ann rund says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm
One way I have found to get “unstuck” is to pick a word and force myself to dwell on it and turn it into art. Example: shelter was a word I used to come up with a watercolor painting of all my hats, and a small assemblage in house shape with some personal family memories inside.. One work= 2 art projects.
Lotus Vele says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm
My favorite way to get “unstuck” is to relax with my favorite music and a pile of my favorite art books. When there’s chaos at home, I use my ipod and tune out everyone. lol…
My favorite and most used prompt for my journaling is to describe/draw my present surroundings, what I am doing at the moment and how I am feeling. When the entry is done, I always end with the date and occasionally time.
Carol Wiebe says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm
I like to grab a book of poetry from a favorite poet or two, get a warm cup of my favorite beverage, and start reading. Poetry is so full of visual images, and wonderful word plays, that things start happening in my mind, art-wise, that I want to express and play with.
Gail White says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm
My favorite way to start creativity rolling is to just start. Grab some colored pencils and paper and color, just like I did when I was a little girl, such fun. I always like to remind people that creativity is not nesessarily inate, it can emerge at any time.
Patricia G says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm
well, I find that signing up for a one or two day workshop does wonders for me. First I’ll google the artist and see if I can figure out what will be taught and garner some ideas which I jot on random envelopes and scraps. That leads me to sketching ideas for pieces in my sketchbook. I will find ideas forming and will gather my bits and pieces because I hate to use the instructor’s pics and will use my things during the workshop. Pretty soon my head is buzzing with ideas and I’m getting excited. This way, for me, the workshop will be successful and I will come home with things that reflect my style and will be ready to continue working on them and branching out.
Connie Vickers says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm
When I’m stuck, checking website/blogs that inspire me is a big help, but if I really want to produce something something soon, I leave home. There is something about picking up my backpack and a bottle of water that makes it real. I don’t even have to go far I just can’t be at home where I can think about laundry, cleaning, whatever. Anyplace seems to work. Parks, downtown, historic spots, museums, anyplace away from the house. Then I get out the sketchbook and start. Amazing.
Linda Cameron says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:56 pm
When I get “stuck” I clean my craft table. There is often an unfinished project underneath all the piles of stuff, and just the process of putting things away starts to install new ideas in my head. Once my place is clean and shiny, if I still don’t have anything, I get my card maps out and close my eyes and choose one. Then it all seems to come together and I make at least 4 of whatever card map I chose. I also play in my journal, doing background pages ahead of myself, and adding collage pictures here and there as I go. Sometimes I just have to accept that there’s nothing going on, turn out the light, and go watch TV (but of course, I’m reading stamping magazines during the commercials!)!
Tilly says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm
When I am stuck, I ‘treat’ myself to a new magazine..( and , yes, I do have lots of them !!!) I go out for a coffee and read the magazine, all the while thinking what have I got at home that I can use to make their ideas my own… at present I am into card making so I would buy a card making mag and think about all the ways I could change the creations to make it my own, using MY SUPPLIES… forces my brain to think. Copying is easy, creating takes a lot of brain power…. ready set go!!!.cheers,
Peggy Schroder says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm
Being ’stuck’ has never been a big problem for me. It’s usually just the opposite. To answer the question in just one word it would be ‘Pictures’. I clip, tear, photograph, I save every picture that inspires me in some way. Of course that also includes books. The pictures use to go into a notebook until I realized how ridiculous that was! Next, I had A drawer called “Inspiration” that I would dump them into. Needless to say that has grown into many drawers…loosely categorized. All I do is open a drawer…grab a handful and thumb through the pics and before I get to the bottom of the stack I’m off and running. Usually in more than one direction!
Lynne says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm
When I am stuck I like to spend some time in fun, funky galleries and see what others are doing. Often, another artist’s work and the way they “see” will inspire my own work.
Sandra says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm
I like to play the “What if??” game when I get stuck.
What if I do…..
or maybe if I…..
I wonder what would happen if I….
Susanne Willert says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm
Sometimes a good night’s sleep will get me unstuck. Or walking away from something I am stuck on for awhile. I will see inspiration in random places when I am not trying so hard.
Sometimes, I find that just playing helps unstick me. No purpose in mind, just toying with my materials.
I usually generate too many ideas when I am feeling creative. So I try and bank surplus ideas for when I may not have any inspiration, but I do have time to complete a project. I do beadwork (as well as rubber stamp) and I have little zippered pouches that I put in ideas for my next project. So if I am stuck, I just pull out one of those. For other things, I jot some general notes, or a diagram for later use.
Cheryl L. says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm
When I am stuck, I go Googling…I am in an altered book RR where the owner provided words – pick a word and create your spread around that word. So, I went Googling and explored the meaning of each word (even if I knew it), and from that exercise, my spread was born. I’ve done this for other projects as well…it works for me!
julie m says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm
I have limited play/creative time but I spend part of it on the internet. Well, actually I spend too much of it on the internet, but as I browse I keep bookmarks for the sites that really speak to me. When I am stuck in a rut and can’t come up with any ideas, I go to that list and randomly roam around. I always find something that gets me going. My favorite way of getting inspired, however, is to take a walk in one of the green spaces or along the rail trail. Nature always makes me feel so good that my mind mellows out and things just flow.
Susan says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm
When I get creatively stuck, if it is at night I go away from the work and “sleep on it”. If it is earlier in the day, sometimes I will go for a cuppa (coffee or tea) or if I can’t work at all I will try to get myself to do something mundain instead of creative, and then once I am in work mode I will have another shot at it.
Lisa H. says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm
I don’t remember where I saw it (someplace on the internet), but I borrowed an idea from someone a while back and it helps me when I’m feeling bored creatively – I have about a 40″-long “clothesline” (string, really) thumbtacked to the wall above my workspace, and I hang things there (on paperclips or clothespins) that have caught my eye – pictures from magazines, pieces of fabric, color swatches from the paint section of the hardware store – if I need a kickstart, I look through them; sometimes take things down and maybe jumble them around on the table, pairing things up or making a sort of collage-y grouping – sometimes the strangest combination of images, textures, and colors will leap out at me and get my juices flowing.
Barbara Gregory-Pearlman says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm
Whenever I get stuck, I do one of two things:
(1) I pick a pile of chaos, which is not hard to find since I am not the neatest and I am a pile-maker, and begin to sort through it. Once I start, I am bound to come across some unfinished projects, some pieces of handpainted papers I had forgotten about, a few rubber stamps I had misplaced, or even a bag of goodies I had purchased at Michael’s or JoAnne’s and never got to use.
(2)Grab a scissor and go through some old magazines, any kind. It never fails to inspire me to cut out some words, some lettering that has caught my attention, a color background on an ad, an optical design, a color combination I’d never used before, etc.
I try to put these things I’ve cut out into a large box or envelope, but I find them all over the house since I’ll also discover some ideas in the newspaper and just tear them out and drop them onto a table or stick them in a drawer.
This technique never fails to get my creative juices spraying and me back to work. Give it a try!
Kathleen Loose says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm
Sometimes when I’m in a creative rut the thing to get me out of it is a few hours of cleaning the house. Generally the kind of cleaning that doesn’t require much cerebral activity … so that my mind is free to just go … and when I’m finished cleaning I often have the energy and ideas to create something. And if I don’t, well at least part of the house is cleaner!
Cindy says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Sometimes if I need a new idea for making a card I look thru the Stampin’ Up catalog for some inspiration. Sometimes I just sit there and think and think and think….hmmmmm.
Mary Anne Hawkins says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm
Sometimes when I absolutely cannot come up with a new or creative idea, I pick out something I haven’t worked on in quite a while.
For example, if I need a new supply of dyed or painted paper, I set up my work space the day before I’m going to do it. I just get it all ready, with everything at hand, then when I’m ready to go, everything is all set to start and I just sit down and start in.
If the thought of digging out everyhing you will need for a project seems too much, try this one–it really works for me.
Naomi DiVincenzo says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm
I grab one of my old magazines that I have set aside for later. They have lots of earmarked pages that I ‘plan to check out later’ and then forgot about for a while. I do alot of card making and book making, but I also work an average of 42 hrs a week, so I have quite a collections of ‘try later’ techniques waiting for me.
Timaree (freebird) says:
September 26, 2009 at 3:02 pm
I’ll give some prompts as there are already so many ways listed to get past a block.
Prompt 1: Make a deck of cards for the alphabet.
Prompt 2: Pick a card from prompt one and use it to draw an object that starts with that letter or write a poem or story with the subject being an object that starts with that letter.
Prompt 3: Pick a card and then pick a color that starts with that letter. Use it to paint either the background to a picture or journal page.
Hope you have fun. If it doesn’t get you going you are really stuck and then you might just go with blue and make a blue-whoo page.
susun says:
September 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Being stuck is my natural state at the moment and the only remedy that works, no matter how blah I’m feeling, is to rearrange my living space. Sometimes it’s furniture, sometimes a minor tweak like sorting my bookshelves by color or redoing the family pictures but, no matter what, I always feel jumpstarted and ready to begin something new. That something may be more of a challenge but I’m ready!
Molly says:
September 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm
When I am stuck on a project I leave it behind and go storming through the house looking for anything and everything than needs to be thrown away, given away or donated. Then I drive it to the dump. Our dump even has a “gift house” where you can put things that are too good to be thrown, not good enough to donate, but things that someone might want or could use. Then when I come home I have some “physic breathing room” and I am usually able to make great strides on my project! Works like a charm.
Mindy says:
September 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm
Usually when all else fails, I jump on the treadmill and get moving. As I zone out and mull over whatever creative problem I am stuck on, things inevitably bubble up and sometimes I even have to stop to jot down new ideas.
Cheryl says:
September 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm
Since I’m a quilter, when I get stuck I tend to look through my fabrics. Or sometimes I look through magazines, books, or patterns to get ideas. Or I talk it over with my quilting buddies. Or set it aside and work on something else.
Jill Badonsky says:
September 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm
I go for a walk, meditate, listen to music, or do one of the prompts in my book… which by the way I’m honored to have reviewed here. Thanks so much, Wisdom Woman… don’t put me in the drawing – I have 50 copies… actually please pick TWO names and I’ll send the second copy to the second winner.
~Jill Badonsky
Meredith Resnick says:
September 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm
I love Jill’s book (and Jill, too). She has an amazing, relateable way of connecting and communicating. Yup, she basically rocks.
Fran Podlesney says:
September 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm
I get creativity challanged more than I would like. Then I turn to old art magazines or just talk to my art buddies and sometimes the inspiration comes. Or, just ask the grandchildren if they need something and sometimes my muse will come running back!
Darlene Clark says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm
Thank you for recommending this book. What a perfect Christmas gift for my artist friends! Your recommendation last year of “When Wanderers Cease to Roam” also encouraged a couple of hits on Amazon for gifts.
Jennifer VanSchoyck says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm
You are all alone, house-sitting in the country. A loud crash sound comes from the basement so you……
Write a haiku poem about birds
Write about something completely normal and boring, but write it as if it was magical and unusual
barbara says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Most times when I get stuck I clean off my worktable and rearrange my supplies and try to finish at least one of the unfinished projects I find there. I have a tendency to “start” projects, then go off and start another before I have finished the last one. But my favorite way is to grab my camera and take a walk around the block, and shoot pics of the birds, the neighbors pets, trees and shadows, cracks in the sidewalk…everyday ordinary things. By the time I get home I am excited to get them onto the computer and something usually sparks and I am unstuck with ideas pouring forth.
wendy says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm
When I’m stuck in a rut (like I have been recently), I like to peruse craft books in areas I’m not active for inspiration. For example, I don’t do pottery, but I recently picked up 2 books from the library (one on plates, the other on cups) and was immediately struck by several pieces. I could see cards, collages, jewelry – all inspired by the works in these books.
Marcia says:
September 26, 2009 at 7:25 pm
I call this period a “dearth” and when I get stuck in a dearth I do a few things…1.) go thru my extensive library of books i.e. art,craft
creativity books and sometimes go to the library or bookstore 2.)start drawing…my dogs, my desk
objects,my partner…anything to get myself going
3.) Meditate..I sit still, try to let my brain go
blank then go for a walk with my camera and take
photographs of rocks, trees all my surroundings then come back and use them to create.
Lisa says:
September 26, 2009 at 8:54 pm
When I’m stuck in a rut I like to do a craft project with my 8 year old daughter. Her creativity and her lack of inhibition inspires me. She does what she loves and works intuitively without giving a thought about what others think or if it’s “right” or “wrong”. She creates art for the pure joy of it and reminds me what it’s all about. I try to work like her and it usually gets me through a rut.
Lynn says:
September 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm
I went to an Outdoor Art Fair today with another artist friend for inspiration, to see what’s new & chat with familiar artists. Then, went back to her place to create & craft with paper & paint. Doing art & crafting with a friend gets the creative energy flowing. Ideas constantly go round in my head.
Bev B says:
September 27, 2009 at 12:02 am
I like to buy a a new 8 pack of ‘Crayola’ crayons and color in coloring books. My other crayons work too, felts, pencils..whatever. I call them all my ‘crayons’, which drives my art friends crazy. But I do love coloing books.
janie says:
September 27, 2009 at 12:12 am
my creative muse seems to be out for lunch lately … but I know that all I need to do is bring my granddaughter Bellona over for a visit and she will help me find the most interesting things in my art room to ‘create’ with … maybe that is where my muse is … back in my childhood waiting for me!!
Carol says:
September 27, 2009 at 2:16 am
there is nothing better than taking a class, maybe not related to your craft, it can really kick start the brain. Yesterday I was teaching a jewellery class at a crafting day and had a few minutes to have a look what other tutors where doing and noticed some needle work on fabric going on that would translate into my beadwork. On the drive home there were all sorts of new ideas tumbling around in my head..they might not get out but that is another story…
Anonymous says:
September 27, 2009 at 5:15 am
What makes most artists professional is the fact they work on something whether they are inspired or not. Plus there’s often a deadline involved. This drives them even more. Sometimes it’s easy & sometimes it’s hard.
So when I am stuck, I just do it. Some of us need to discipline ourselves. If one was in an art class or workshop one would simply start the project, with no expectations of a masterpiece.
So trying a new technique or material might help.
Mimi L says:
September 27, 2009 at 5:35 am
I dip into my stash of magazines, tearing out images or just pages of color, to add to my image folders. Sometimes an idea for a collage surfaces. I also have a large floor-to-ceiling image board, similar to the clothesline idea mentioned above.
Ann says:
September 27, 2009 at 6:22 am
I get out some of my 3yo craft stuff and we’ll do a collage type project or a paint project together and his enthusiasm and creativity usually inspires me just by looking at the colours or items he choses to put together or by what he creates and the story he tells me about the item. They seem to see the world in such a clearer light than adults and it helps to unblock my ebbs in mojo!
Maggie says:
September 27, 2009 at 7:24 am
When I’m stuck in a rut I try to take on the mindset of someone I think could solve this problem or heave me out of this rut. When I’m trying to paint or draw I ask myself how would DaVinci do this, what would Matisse do here etc…
It’s also helpful with writing as in how would Hemingway end this story? What would Shakespeare think of this character? How would Salinger make this person more sympathetic? When we get out of our own limited minds and experiences and open up to all the wisdom of the masters who have come before us it frees us from our own limitations and opens us up to new possibilities.
Cecilia Swatton says:
September 27, 2009 at 7:43 am
I would love to see the responses to this topic collected — reading thru them is a delight!
I just returned from a long road trip, which included a visit to the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY. I was looking for inspiration for abstract painting compositions — and I found them there. I took lots of photos that in most cases were tight close-ups of sections of the glass artforms on display. The photos themselves won’t be used in my art, but the captured designs will be springboards of inspiration for a long time to come.
I’ve had the same experience when visiting Grounds for Sculpture in the Trenton, NJ, area.
I don’t work in glass or in sculpture, and perhaps that’s the reason that these two artforms inspire me.

1 comment:

Creativity Coach-Sherrie said...

I need to delete this very long post. I have no idea how it got here. Can someone please help me?!