How to Get Past An Artist’s Block – Musician’s Guide
Have you ever experienced a lack of imagination or creativity while working on a project?
It is easy to start a new project however sometimes it gets difficult to finish. Especially when you’re working on a huge project with a deadline. A lot of stress and a fear of perfection gets in the way.
Under such pressures, it’s evident to hit the wall or let’s just say run out of creative ideas to complete your music album. You may call it an Artist's Block, a Creative Block, a Writer’s Block or even a Mental Block. The occurrence of these blocks is quite inevitable as an artist.
Making music or creating any form of art, requires indefinite creative thinking and inspiration.
But what if your well of inspiration has run empty?
How do you refill it?
Let’s find that out in this article.
Break it down
How do you know if it really is an Artist's Block or just laziness?
Sometimes artists mistake laziness and procrastination for Art blocks. Laziness manipulates artists to believe why they shouldn’t put in more effort.
Artist's Block usually occurs when you already have put in all your ideas to work and face difficulties finding inspiration to go further. This usually never happens at the beginning, mostly when you’re in the middle or about to finish the upcoming album.
The very first step is to know what exactly is causing these blocks to your inner creativity. Stress, perfectionism, too much work, fear of failure, personal issues and overthinking can create barriers to your creative ability.
How to Get Past An Artist's Block As A Musician
Fortunately, there are ways to break through Artist’s Blocks. Different methods work for everyone, find out what works best for you and get your creative juices flowing.
It is easier said than done.
We work and see things in habitual patterns. To break free of these patterns first we need to acknowledge their existence and then try changing these patterns one by one. Changing these patterns involve looking at things differently and trying different methods.
How to get a new perspective?
There are many ways to get a new perspective like travelling to unknown places, reading a book, changing your work surroundings, a new hobby and participating in adventurous activities or anything that works for you.
When we get out of our comfort zone our bodies and brains are challenged. This helps break out of habitual patterns and leaves you with a new perspective.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
– Albert Einstein
Perfectionism and a fear of failure are the most damaging blocks to creativity.
Fear of failure, rejection and making mistakes can hold you back from trying something different.
These fears are nothing but the creation of the mind. It creates boundaries and holds you back from living to your full potential. The truth is, creativity takes courage. The more creative you're, the more errors you’re going to make.
“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.”
~ Ludwig Van Beethoven
As an artist, you’re going to make mistakes. Thus, you’ll have to learn to cope with the failures. Find out what you’re afraid of; face your fears and overcome them. Get past these artist’s blocks by pushing all the boundaries that you have created for yourself.
Always remember, you’re in charge of setting the limits, as well as getting past them.
Long walks are good for you especially if you spend most of your time seated. A long walk or a run outdoors is the most preferred way, to unclog the brain, for creatives.
Most artists claim that they came up with ideas for their new albums on a walk in nature. Everyone from Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, Mahler to Steve Vai took long walks with a notepad to record their creative thoughts.
According to a research Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking, walking can enhance creativity by an average of 60%, to as high as 81% in some cases.
Artist’s blocks caused by overthinking and distress can be removed by a walk in nature. A long walk can help you clear your mind and refill the well of your imagination.
“All truly great things are conceived by walking.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Break free from Autopilot
Is it the autopilot mode that's killing your creativity?
To take care of the daily routines, our brain works on an unconscious decision-making system. You can call it the “autopilot” mode. The autopilot is becoming the default mode of functioning.
It’s like you’re playing your instrument without thinking, just because you do it daily. Although, routines are a necessity to bring stability in life. It can as well cause blocks to your creative thinking.
To get past the autopilot mode – break your old routine, make some more conscious decisions and live more mindfully.
A life with more awareness is the simplest way to raise curiosity. Curiosity helps artists break out of autopilot and get past the creative blocks, as curiosity is the key to creativity.
Take a Break
The cure to an Artist's Block for musicians is usually not creating or writing more music. Especially if working continuously is what exactly caused this Artist's Block in the first place. When something is blocked, you simply move it. This is why taking a break works for most people.
Here, taking a break means that you’re not allowed to think or do anything related to your work i.e. music. However, you can explore new genres or artists but just for the fun of it.
Take a break from your work, from your workplace and even the environment that you work in. This has to be like a complete detox from your work-related stress.
Go out and do something fun. Yes, it is as simple as that.
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Yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation are some of the best ways to get past an Artist's Block. Whether you are a vocalist, an instrumentalist, or just a hobbyist musician, yoga practice can help you get out of your head and into your body. Yoga helps establish a deeper connection with your inner creative self by activating the creative part of the brain.
Whenever you are lacking inspiration or feel stuck, get on your mat and take your mind off it.
You can practice
- Child’s Pose
- Sun Salutation
- Pigeon Pose
- Corpse Pose
- Deep Breathing
If yoga postures are too much for you; you can practise meditation and mindfulness. Meditation helps you slow the chatter of the mind and form a deeper connection with yourself.
Keep a Journal
Writing your thoughts can help you increase self-awareness as well as record the accidental ideas for your upcoming projects.
Keeping a journal allows you to un-clutter your mind by writing your thoughts without censoring them. For self-awareness, you can inspect these thoughts once written and use your judgement to make the changes in your thinking patterns. This process helps you identify the errors that need to be fixed. Thus, helps you unclog the mental barriers to your inner creativity.
The average person has about 12000 to 60000 thoughts per day. Most of these thoughts are usually cluttered. But a few of them could potentially be life-changing ideas and you surely don’t want to forget these just because you did not record them.
Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” solution to Artist’s Blocks. You’ll have to experiment with different methods until you find the one that works best for you.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things”
~ Ray Bradbury
The good news is that creativity is a skill that needs to be practised like any other skill and isn’t something you inherit. So let go of your doubts and live life to your full potential.
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