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Coping with 'Artist Block'

If there's one thing we've all experienced in our lives, it's pointlessly staring into the fridge for three entire minutes, only to walk away empty-handed - and also writer's block. I equate those two things as the same sort of feeling.

Writer's block comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn't only pertain to writing, of course. From twelve-page essays to twelve-foot murals, any sort of creative activity can screech to a stop, due to a lack of an idea. I'm experiencing it right now - can you tell?

Anyways, let's talk about the reasons behind a 'creative block' and how to [attempt to] cope. Let's also preface this article with the fact that I'm in no way qualified to pick at your brain or to tell you how to live your life. Consider me a friend, just having a friendly discussion and trying to give you friendly life advice.

The reasons behind creative block can be both internal and external. Perhaps you're dealing with a mental block. Your thoughts might be too scattered and you're having trouble communicating or imagining what it is you'd like to express. Maybe there's an annoying, hyper-critical voice inside your head that's turning you into the ultimate perfectionist. Or even further, perhaps you're experiencing some sort of emotional barrier to your work. If this is the issue, then the roadblock simply exists in your mind. It's all in your head (cliche, I know.) In any case, the solution here is to get out of your own head. Take a break and try something new. Talk to some new people with thoughts that differ from your own. Go somewhere you've never been, watch a movie you told yourself you never would.

Stemming from these internal forces at work, maybe your creative block is stemming from a string of bad habits. Are you a procrastinator? Are you a messy person? Maybe you're waking up too early in the morning or staying up too late to finish your pieces. Perhaps you're always on the go, or taking the idea of 'multitasking' a bit too seriously. It may be easier said than done, but the solution here is to find balance. Keep trying new things, and keep trying to find a routine that works for you - or perhaps throw away your routine all together.

Alternatively, what if your creative block is coming from a place you can't always control? Perhaps you're having the busiest week at work, and you haven't had enough down time. Maybe your friends love you so much that they want to spend every waking moment with you - and your phone's been ringing off the hook. Maybe you're struggling to make rent this month, so your mind has obviously been elsewhere. Or maybe you're fighting with a family member or significant other. No matter what sort of external factors are coming into play, the point is that you're just overwhelmed. You have so much going on that you've lost track of your priorities. You can't always change your situation, so the best advice I can offer is to just take some time for yourself. Block out an hour or two each day to just focus on you and your art - whatever that may be. Turn off your phone, avoid the urge to check your work emails, and just create.

Hopefully this bit of insight has applied to you, or even helped you. Perhaps there's something I've missed, or you have a piece of advice that has helped you jump a creative hurdle. Or, perhaps I've used the word, "perhaps" too many times in one article. Either way, let me know in the comments below!

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