You don’t have to be an artist to experience a creative block – we’ve all dealt with being “stuck”. A brand new book from the mind behind the blog The Jealous Curator, Danielle Krysa, tackles the topic in Creative Block: Advice and Projects From 50 Successful Artists. She interviewed 50 artists (including your’s truly) to explore the ways that creative individuals can overcome the universal feeling of doubt. The results are compiled into a collection of interviews and selected artworks plus exercises to get unblocked. It’s really chock full of advice and inspiration for anyone who is creative – which is really everyone, even if they don’t know it. I’ve been reading it since I got my copy a few weeks ago and besides being honored to be included, I’m getting a lot out of it. There’s some really good ideas in here!
Here are 19 Habits of artists that can help unlock your own creativity:
1. Let go of your idea of “perfect.”
“I do have to step back, take a breather, and realize that it is just a project and not the end of the world if it’s not perfect.” -Brooklyn-based illustrator and lettering master Mary Kate McDevitt
2. Allow yourself to have fun.
“It is when I find myself playing more than trying that I find my way out of a block.” -New Hampshire-based artist and teacher Aris Moore
3. Don’t be afraid to silence your inner critic.
“The inner critic is like that old friend from school that you wish would just leave you alone, but keeps calling and leaving messages.” -UK-based collage illustrator Anthony Zinonos
4. Realize that you can be your own worst enemy. Not the work.
“Don’t put barriers up that aren’t there — just get to work and make something.” -Portland, Oregon-based painter Lisa Golightly
5. But not all self-inflicted boundaries are bad.
“You have to set up the narrow parameters that you work in, and then within those, give yourself just enough room to be free and play.” -New York-based painter Trey Speegle
6. Find your mantra and keep it close.
“I keep repeating my mantra, a quote by Charles Horton Cooley: ‘An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.’” -Germany-based photographer Matthias Heiderich
7. Establish your “me” time.
“I love to start the morning with a peek at sites like Pinterest or Flickr while I’m drinking coffee, in the early hours before the rest of my family wakes up.” -Boston-based painter Leah Giberson
8. And indulge in some vices to reset.
“Intimacy, cocktails and music are excellent lubricants in and out of a rut.” -Kansas City-based artist Peregrine Honig
9. Humble yourself from time to time.
“I’m no genius and my work is only a reflection of my quirky insides — you just can’t take offense at what others think.” -Toronto-based ceramics artist Wendy Walgate
For 10 more habits, go to the Huffington Post. And if you’d like your own copy, you can get one on Amazon, or come to a book-signing/Creative Block event in your city. The tour is underway: Los Angeles, March 22; New York – April 2 (I’ll be there! Go here to get tickets. For the price you’ll get drinks and a signed copy of the book.); Vancouver, May 15; Portland, May 21; Seattle, May 24 with more to come. Go to The Jealous Curator for details.