Personally, I believe that artist’s block is caused by 2 main things:
- A relentless fear of being unable to create something truly original and successful.
The first is fairly straight-forward. While I’m sure there are people out there who don’t analyze and think about their every action, most content-creators don’t fall into that category. As a result, it’s very easy to have a brief, electric, idea in your mind, and if you don’t start executing it quickly enough, you can become creatively impotent thinking that it’s been done, can’t be done properly, or won’t be noticed/shared/respected. One moment like this can cause a chain of thoughts that keeps you from even putting pen to paper/screen/canvas. As I mentioned in my 10 Things I Learned In The 2 Years Since I Graduated From Art School, your best fix is to just do it, “it” being something, anything.
The latter of the two causes, Laziness — I actually believe is the more common issue, just the less admitted one. The first reason gives people an excuse, but no one likes laziness to be their excuse. “Art” in its most traditional sense (despite its current definition of: “anything…literally…anything”), is really not a genetically (or god)-given skill. It’s a technical ability and understanding that is honed and matured through practice and time (Yes, there are always brilliant exceptions to this rule, but they’re the vast minority). That’s not just how well you can shade, sing, or sculpt, but how you understand light/shadow, rhythm, or movement. Technical ability extends to the conceptual: the idea-having, abstract, and less concrete parts of creative-trades. Coming up with an idea for a painting, a book, or a song… it’s rarely this “eureka” moment, but rather the culmination and synthesizing of your ideas, existing ideas, and things you’ve seen and heard, all coming together over time to create something “new”, even if it’s not actually new at all. Where laziness comes into all of this, is that people use their lack of inspiration — this necessity for eureka moments — as excuses for everything when finding inspiration is as easy as finding a Bruno Mars song that I hate. It requires such little effort to be inspired these days thanks to the Internet, you just have to not use it like you’ve just done a line of coke in the middle of a squirrel-filled plastic-ball pit while a bubble-machine fills the air with rainbow soapy balls of wonder underneath a disco-ball.
As I’ve said before, having the Internet is a big deal. We have pretty much any visual we could ever imagine at our fingertips and that over-saturation of imagery can be daunting… if you don’t SLOOWWWW DOOOWWWNNN. Seeing something on facebook or tumblr and instantly clicking “like or reblog” does NOT mean you have absorbed content. It means that in the midst of endless scrolling, you have paused for .2 seconds to express to the world “I LIKE THIS THING, OH SHINY THING, *CLICK* OK GTG BYE… OH I LIKE THIS THING, *CLICK* OK GOTTA—- OH MY GOD THAT THING!…” and so on. Just chill. Look at the artwork, listen to the music, watch the full youtube video…. it’s like the Internet version of stopping to smell the roses, except instead of essentially useless flowers, it’s the entire Web filled with the creations of millions of different people in every medium and format imaginable.
So, advice on artist’s block in easily digestible format (tl;dr as some of you call it):
-Make something. Light bulbs don’t actually pop up above your head causing you to vomit up creativity and unicorns. Start something before you get too afraid to make anything.
-Don’t use “lack of inspiration” as an excuse. Slow the hell down and appreciate the endless chocolate-fountain of artistic brilliance and horror that is The Internet.