Thursday, June 28, 2012

5 Ways to Beat the Crap Out of Creative Frustration

Hi everyone!

Call it lack of mojo, absent inspiration or just plain sucking at doing something, it's all a part of creative frustration. I'm going to venture to say that every artist, crafter or whatever-er has experienced this at some point in their creative career (or journey if you want to get all "Bachelor" about it).

This is what creative frustration does to me:

Part of it is the pressure we crafty bloggers put on ourselves to have something to actually blog about on a regular basis. "I made this! Bow before my creative prowess! Please? I've already blogged three times this week, right? What do you mean this is the first?! Arghhhhhhhhhh!" Another part is finding the time, skills, space and inspiration to get to work. But whatever your hang up is, here's 5 ways to overcome it...

1. Warm Up Your Creative Muscles

Creative Jumpstart -- Dina Wakley from Dina Wakley on Vimeo.

This video from Dina Wakley makes a great point. Most people can't create going from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. We could all use some sort of "warm up" before getting down with our artsy selves so watch this video and then go play with no end result in mind. Just slap down some paint or paper and don't bother making anything.

2. Start With One Thing

It all started with the pins...

Sometimes my interest in making something will spark when I'm digging through my stash (and I seriously mean "digging") and come across an object or a piece of paper, a vintage ad, a piece of lace, whatever. I've been lucky enough that the project almost makes itself when I'm using one focal point and simply build around it instead of just grabbing random crap and trying to glue it together. In the case of the above canvas, someone sent me these painted pins and it went from there. I think I got this finished in about an hour all told.

3. Get a Life

Seriously...get a life. Get out into the world and see what there is outside of your laptop and the house. Take a walk, even the smallest of towns have some sort of museum, park, monument or something you can visit. Take a camera with you and just start snapping. You'd be amazed how much clarity you can achieve just by seeing something different while taking a deep breath of air that's not been circulated through the A/C.

4. Do It Anyway

I remember an episode of "Friends" where Chandler was having a..uh.."manly" problem and went to Joey for advice. Asking Joey if it ever happened to him and what he did about it, Joey's response was, "I did it anyway." So just go make something anyway. Even if it's crap, you've still created something that can be used as a stepping stone to something else. You know...that's not crap.

5. Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

There's a reason I don't make cards
Just accept the fact that sometimes you suck. I don't mean that in a, "Woe is me, I'm so not talented, boo hoo hoo!" kind of way, I mean sometimes we're just not getting it and you know what? That's okay. In fact, give yourself permission to fail...or at least give yourself permission to be okay with failing. Also, give yourself a break, chances are you DIDN'T fail (unless you set your microwave on fire or crocheted a Q-tip hat like I did) but even if it's not your best project, who cares? The fact that you made something means you're still ahead of those of us sitting around watching The Real Housewives of Orange County while waiting for inspiration to strike.

I hope you find these 5 tricks a little bit helpful. For a creative person there's nothing worse than feeling stagnant. Sometimes you need to push through it and sometimes you need to sit on it. Whatever gets you through the dry spells, just remember to keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars! Oh wait, that's Casey Kasem.


  1. My (sort of silly) rule when I'm feeling stuck is to gesso pages in my art journal so I'll be ready when inspiration strikes. Next thing you know, I'm adding some color, some paint, some stencils and I'm not so stuck anymore.

    Great post!

  2. Thanks for the tips Maggi - they will help on those days I can't seem to think my way out of a box. And I almost wet myself while reading about you setting your microwave on fire (glad to know you weren't injured).


  3. Loveeeeeeeeee this post Maggi... I did a similar post today about making lo's in under an hour...(which is what I do on everyone I make) ... anyhoo... well I don't like to say anything mean/negative at all... but some of my comments I got -- thinking I might have taken them the wrong way -- I don't know ... I was just trying to help peeps -- and thinking it might have backfired on me -- so thanks for this great post -- helped me to know that I'm not the only one trying to help :)

  4. Love it, Maggi! sounds like we're all feeling a bit mojo-less lately! grrr!
    And I love Nicole's tip about gessoing pages...I do that too!

  5. Maggi, Maggi, Maggi!I love this post. Thanks for that Dina video - I'm sat here itching to make stuff now! Loving the Joey reference too ;)

  6. I knew I missed you Maggi!!!
    Kool post as usual and I'm getting a life or I should say...I'm getting my life back.I will make sure I update your link.I don't want to miss you again.Hugs Dear,
    XXOO Marie Antionette

  7. These are great tips! I took part in the jumpstart this year too and while they all said it differently the biggest thing I learned is just do it!

  8. Hello,

    Great tips :)
    I love friends lol :D

    Devon xx

  9. Just wanted to stop by and say hello. I may not comment but I enjoy your posts. Stay Cool!