Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Overcoming Creative Blocks, Part Two

Last week, I wrote about some of my favorite ways to open up the flow of creativity.  They focused mostly on things to do in the studio to get the juices going. This week I'll share some ideas that are more about cultivating an atmosphere and a mindset of creativity.

Go Out
In the book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron describes what she calls an artist date. It is a commitment to spend time alone each week doing something that feeds your soul.  It could have absolutely nothing to do with your craft (a walk in the zoo, ice skating or taking cooking lessons) or it could be related to your area of focus (a conference for fiber artists, an art exhibit, or browsing an art supply store). This time can reduce stress that can block creativity and it exposes you to new things, which may inspire new ideas.

Cultivate Silence
Most of us have a constant chatter in our heads that leaves little room for our creative voice. Creating silence can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths before you begin your creative work. If you want to do more, incorporate short “breaks” throughout the day in which you focus on your breathing for 30 seconds or longer.

Creative Environment
Is your workspace conducive to creating? Only you can determine what that means.  Do you prefer quiet, do you like music, do you enjoy scented candles or incense, do you work best in daylight? What about clutter (or lack of)? Is your chair or stool comfortable, your table the right height?

A ritual is an intentional action in which one is focused on a particular thought, action or task. Rituals give us a feeling of consistency and stability.    Beginning your creative time with a ritual that is uniquely yours can create a sense of space and time apart from your normal day. The ritual signals to your body and mind that it is now time to create. The specifics of the ritual are different for everyone.  You may begin with a cup of tea, with a meditation, with a list of intentions or with a creative warm-up.

Apparently I'm not the only one focused on the topic of creativity right now.  Susie Monday recently wrote a blog post in which people sent in their suggestions for getting unstuck.


Donna Kallner began the new year describing a creativity exercise, something she writes about periodically on her blog.


How do you create an atmosphere or environment for creativity?

Read about some of the common blocks to creativity.

(If you are a regular reader of my blog, you've already seen mention of my online creativity class.  I promise this is the last time you'll see it this semester.)

If you could use some help in overcoming your creative blocks, join me in my online class, Re-Discover Your Creative Self.  The materials are now available online and you can sign up through the end of February. Work at your own pace and join in the class discussion if you have questions or want to share your thoughts.(For more information, visit my website.)


  1. Last weekend, two members of my state Surface Design Association came for a studio play date, and I could light up a city with all the energy it gave me! But most of the time, when I'm working alone many miles from museums and coffee shops, I rely on two of the things you mention: getting outside for a walk, and rituals. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Working with others is a great way to spark creativity. I experienced that last week in an independent study class. Everyone shared what they were doing and pretty soon the ideas were flowing so fast we could hardly keep up.

  2. Thank you, I have so enjoyed this post. I am a Julia Cameron fan from way back and still find a review necessary to keep all this creative life alive! I have been reviewing her book "Finding Water" and it has set me on course for this next series. Best of luck with this online class!! Mary Ann....!


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