8 Tips to Overcome a Creative Block

Being creative is easy when it’s a recreational process, it is something you do in your spare time to relax and take time out from your work or personal life. A passion for creativity starts from an early age, and is taught to be a recreational hobby . In society, art is considered a pastime and children learn to do art as a fun aside to otherwise tiresome school work. Holiday and weekend activities often include creative endeavours, whether it is painting or sculpting with clay, building or playing in the sand pit, or making cupcakes and cookies.

As you grow into adulthood, so can your passion for art grow to become a bigger and bigger part of your life. For the more talented among us, the possibility of creating a career from your talent becomes a real prospect. It makes sense, it’s something you’ve always done and are good at. And let’s face it everybody’s dream is to make a living doing what they love.

Starting any business can be a long and hard slog. Like any new venture, there is always a plenitude of things to do and steps to implement along the way. The process of starting an Art Business can be very involving, albeit also very fun and exciting – organising a business name, arranging price scales, colour coordinating your workspace; all are very empowering moves towards your ultimate goal of running a successful creative business.

Once the business is set up, whether it starts as a market stall, space in a gallery or a stand alone shop front, the next major step is the creating of and maintaining adequate art stock levels. The magnitude of this task will vary depending on your area of expertise – you may be making sock puppets, selling your poetry, or creating large scale oil paintings. Whatever the product you are selling, you need to keep up with the demand. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it, after all this is something you’ve been doing all your life and it’s something you are passionate about.

But sometimes it becomes a little harder to come up with constant inspiration and motivation.  Unfortunately what used to be a loved hobby, usually indulged in at your leisure, no matter how hard you try, has become work..

And no-one likes the pressures of work, no matter what it is.

Creative Block, or Writers Block, is common. It happens to everyone at some point in their lives. In any line of work, people get tired and need a break. That’s why we have business hours, a weekly work load and annual holiday leave. Otherwise people get burnt out and productivity drops.

Unfortunately for a small art business owner, especially someone who is working full time in their creative pursuit will hit a creative block sometimes.

If a creative block hits, and let’s face it – in the span of a career, it is bound to happen at least once – there are many ways to minimise its effect and damage, and to stop them impacting on your career.

Tips to overcome creative Block:

  • Amass as much of your work as you can before ‘opening the doors’ of your business. Not only will this help sales by having a larger variety of product for people to choose from, but you will also have plenty of stock to fall back on if inspiration leaves you for a spell.
  • Make hay while the sun shines. No I’m not suggesting you become a farmer, but If you have a large bout of creativity, make the most of it. Put off what you can and put all your energy into your art.

Create, create, create. Everything else can wait.


  • Carry a journal with you everywhere to jot down ideas and thoughts as they pop into your mind. Often the most brilliant ideas hit in the most random of times & places. You don’t want to be caught unawares and lose the idea of a lifetime!
  • Declutter your work space. It sounds simple and too good to be true but sometimes a de-clutter and dust of the cobwebs is all it takes to feel fresh and unencumbered and let those creative juices flow. Here’s a previous article on saying no to a messy office.
  • Think about collaborating with a like-minded artist. This way when you can’t keep up with demand you may be able to bolster stock levels with their work. An easy way to achieve this and have optimum stock levels would be by sharing a shop or stall. This obviously may not always be an option depending on your field – a fiction writer certainly can’t substitute but an article writer may be able to get away with it for an article or two.


  • Work together with another artist. Sitting down with a fellow creative and just create can be a great circuit breaker. Not only can it be fun, but bouncing ideas off each other is one of my favourite ways to overcome a creative block
  • Great inspiration often hits in new places so if your head is full of bricks and that’s not the angle you’re going for, get away from it all. Go for a walk, have a swim, drive to somewhere beautiful and have a picnic, hit the town for a night out and let your hair down. Extreme cases of creative block may even call for a holiday – why not, if you’re not getting anything done at home, you may as well work on your sun tan!
  • Try not to get stressed and worry. It just puts more pressure on you and compounds the problem. Remember that you became a full-time artist for the love of doing it. Inspiration will return, often better than before.
  • Stay at your old job one or two days a week, or get a part time job. As demoralising as this may seem when all you want to do is pursue your dreams, a part time job can bring in the money needed to pay bills and rent and just take the pressure off and allow you to relax a little. It can also help replenish dwindling business funds and keep a new business afloat before demand increases. Just remember, you can always give up the part-time job when you’re on track.

 The important thing to remember is not to lose heart when you hit that creative block.

Although following your dreams is fulfilling, no one ever said it was easy, that’s why so many people work for others in menial jobs. But if you can stick to it and keep a fresh perspective, the rewards are huge.

When the chips are down and the inspiration has fled, seriously think about that holiday, even if it’s camping by a river or staying with a friend in the country rather than a tropical escape to a luxurious island, it’s got to be better than pulling your hair out in the studio.

We’ve just come across a new study by The University of Melbourne on the Study of ‘Creative Blocks’ read more here.

Small Business Ideas - 22 Jan 2012 - by Rob Jennings

About Rob Jennings

When he found himself embroiled in a conversation with someone talking about their ‘customer-centric core competencies’ he realised it was time to create a Web Design Agency that was less about self promoting buzz-words and more about people and giving them the tools to understand the web.

The idea behind We Push Buttons was to create an environment where business owners can learn about building their organisation, whether it be with an outstanding website, SEO or any other marketing ideas. Coming from the art industry and online retail background he knows first hand the needs of growing a business in a tough environment.