50 Ways to Escape Artist’s Block

A detailed list of ideas on how to overcome your creative slump, whether you are a writer, a painter, or any other creative being. Not in any particular order.

  1. Do yoga. Studies have shown that it calms stress, boosts confidence, and is quite healthy for your mind and body. Many gym and studios offer yoga classes that vary in difficulty, so you can taken them whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete. If you aren’t able to attend a class, here is a great website with free instructional yoga videos that you can stretch along with at home.
  2. Walk around downtown. You can go by yourself, or with friends. Remember to take a camera and a notepad so that you can capture any inspiring thoughts. Depending on how safe your city is, I recommend going at night when all of the buildings are lit up.
  3. Walk around a small town. Drive out to the nearest cozy, authentic town and visit as many shops as time allows. Walk around the neighborhoods and pay attention to the people and architecture, comparing it to wherever you’re from. Again, take a camera and a notepad.
  4. Live a day as your alter ego. Are they a punk rocker? A peppy blonde that looks like they’re from some outdated anime show? Ziggy Stardust? Dress an act like them for a day. For extra excitement, visit a shopping center or other public place as your alter ego.
  5. Watch a great play. Check out your local theaters and see if there are any reasonably priced shows that you can attend. Some theaters will even allow you to watch the performance for free if you volunteer as an usher.
  6. Watch a crappy play. Go see a performance by a nearby school or volunteer-run theater organization. They might not blow your mind, but sometimes my best ideas are inspired by mediocre plays, especially if the performers are adorable eleven year olds. Remember to congratulate the actors after the show!
  7. Have a classic horror movie marathon. Make some popcorn and treat yourself to a night of scary masterpieces. If you’re easily frightened, just watch some horror movies from ‘60s. They’re actually pretty hilarious, if you ask me.
  8. Listen to the first band you were ever obsessed with. You know, back when you were in middle school and went through that intense Green Day phase. Go listen to some of their albums (LOUDLY) and watch a few concert videos or even a documentary about them if one is made. Even if you are over that particular band, give it a chance. If you were as much of a music fangirl as I was, this is certain to bring up some old memories.
  9. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Helping others will boost your mood and give you motivation to get stuff done. If you live in the US, here is a website to find a soup kitchen near you.
  10. Visit a retirement home. Make sure that you check to see if they allow strangers to visit first, though. Many do, and you will get to have some great conversations with very interesting people. Not only will you get to hear inspiring stories from the residents, but they will be thrilled to see a new face at their home.
  11. Go to an exotic pet store. Normal pet stores are nice; however the exotic ones carry some pretty unique animals. They’re fun to stare at, and sometimes the employees will even allow you to pet or hold them.
  12. Take yourself out for a date. That’s right. Get fancy and go to a movie and dinner. Don’t be self-conscious about eating alone. Just use the time to clear your mind and focus on yourself.
  13. Visit an art museum. This one is on literally every “overcoming writer’s block” guide that I’ve seen. If the staff allows you to take pictures, do so. If not, then bring your journal for writing and doodling.
  14. Volunteer at an animal shelter. This is another major mood booster, plus you get to play with little puppies! Some shelters make you take a training course before you can volunteer, but others are happy to just have someone to walk the dogs and feed the cats. If you live in the US, you can use this site to find an animal welfare center near you.
  15. Read a book. It’s self explanatory. Either reread an old favorite, or pick out a new one. For bonus points, read it at a beautiful park or at your favorite bookstore. If you are unsure of what to read, try this website.
  16. Enjoy your city’s architecture. Go on a spree of visiting churches, temples, and cathedrals. Many have gorgeous stained glass windows or well-crafted statues for you to view. Make sure you are respectful of these buildings, even if you are not religious.
  17. Have a dance party by yourself. Turn up your stereo and dance like no one’s watching. Preferably, no one will be. Make a playlist of all your favorite jams.
  18. Watch a movie at the theater. I especially love watching artsy films when I’m looking for inspiration, rather than the blockbuster that’s playing at every cinema. You can do this with friends or by yourself, whatever suits your fancy.
  19. Read through the poetry tag on tumblr. Send compliments (either anonymously or from your blog) to the poets that you like. Try writing some of your own poetry, and don’t worry about whether or not it’s good.
  20. Roleplay casually on a website like Omegle. Since you are anonymous, there is no pressure to be perfect with your writing, plus you can quit anytime you want with no consequences. There are lots of roleplayers in the fandom categories of Omegle, or you can just type in “rp” and “roleplay” to find someone.
  21. Get a massage. A lot of artist’s blocks are caused by stress, which can result in tension in your back. A massage is a relaxing way to get rid of this problem, so you can focus on other issues.
  22. Listen to new music. You can find bands that conform to your music tastes using sites like Pandora, TasteKid, and Music-Map.
  23. Thoroughly research a new subject. It can be a person, a disease, a location… Anything that’s inspiring to you. Find out everything you can about it, and then try drawing or writing what comes to mind with this new information.
  24. Go for a long walk. If you have a dog, take them with you. You can go at any pace that is comfortable for you, as long as you get a little sweaty by the end of your journey.
  25. Visit a playground. Try going very early in the morning, when no one else is there. That way you won’t be viewed as a creep by the ignorant moms that float around their heavily sheltered children. Go on the swings, the slides, and the monkey bars.
  26. Explore a nearby park. I suggest bringing a camera and notepad for this one. If the park has walking trails, try taking a different path than you usually do. Just don’t get lost.
  27. Doodle. Scribble some nonsense on a piece of paper. Don’t be afraid to mess up or create something “worthless”. You can even blast some music, and move your markers along the paper to the beat.
  28. Try a different type of art. If you are having trouble songwriting, go decoupage something. If you can’t get into your paintings, make something at a ceramics studio. If your poetry isn’t coming out well, try sketching fruit.
  29. Take a nap. Drink some tea, snuggle into your pajamas and go to bed for a few hours. If this is not an option for you, at least make sure that you are getting to sleep at a decent time so that you are not groggy during the day.
  30. Make sure you are being healthy. Eating good foods, exercising, and taking care of yourself will give you a much more positive attitude, which will reflect in your perception of your work.
  31. Look back at your old work. Visit the archive of your blog and scroll back to day one, to see what your work was like then. If you are a writer that keeps a diary, flip back to the beginning and read.
  32. Spend a day without electronics. Turn off your cell phone, iPod, laptop, television, and any other unnecessary technology. For an extra challenge, refrain from using your car and the lights in your house.
  33. Teach yourself a new skill. Something simple like how to juggle, how to finger-knit, or how to bake homemade bread should do the trick.
  34. Meet your neighbors. This one requires a little bit of confidence. Introduce yourself to your neighbors that you don’t know very well. I suggest bringing them cookies to make your visit seem less random.
  35. Build a blanket fort. Make a secret hideout just for you out of pillows, sheets, chairs, and clothespins. Get as creative as possible with the decorations. If it’s not too hot, you can even try writing and drawing inside.
  36. Pull an all-nighter. This kinda contradicts my whole “get good amounts of sleep” suggestion, but sometimes it is helpful. Spend the whole night awake, with lots of coffee, movies, snacks, and of course a notepad to doodle and write in.
  37. Exchange fun things with your friends. Invite a few people over and instruct each one to bring their favorite movies, video games, music, and books. Remember to return each item to its owner when you’re done with it!
  38. Take a bubble bath. Bring a book or some tea with you, and play soothing music. Just relax.
  39. Clean your home. Scrub the counters and make a box of things of unwanted things that you can donate. It’s a productive way to spend your time.
  40. Try on fancy clothes at a store. Go to a department store and head straight to the formal section. Pick out some elegant dresses or suits, and try them on. You can even make up a story to go along with each outfit.
  41. Make random lists. Just write stuff down. About anything. Make lists of your favorite foods, your most memorable high school moments, or your most disliked urban legends. Hell, you could even make a list of numbers in order from 1 to 100.
  42. Go window shopping. Visit a shopping center that you don’t usually go to, or perhaps one that’s out of your budget, and look around. Touch everything.
  43. Try people watching. This is another great thing to do at the mall. Sit in the food court and examine everyone. Bring your notepad to jot down ideas based on the strangers that you see.
  44. Watch a TED talk. These can be extremely inspiring, especially if they’re about a topic that you’re interested in. For bonus points, pretend that you are going to make your own TED talk. Write a script, and practice in front of a mirror.
  45. Visit the beach. Obviously this is not always possible, depending on where you live and how busy you are. If you’re lucky enough to have a beach nearby, go to it! Walk around in the sand barefoot, and dip your toes in the water.
  46. Look at the sky. You can either do this during the day or at night, just make sure that you pay close attention to every single cloud and star that you see. Watch the sunrise and sunset as well, if your schedule allows it.
  47. Take a shower. Who doesn’t have their best thoughts in the shower? Grab a loofah and get scrubbing.
  48. Watch a foreign film. There are many available online, plus there’s a whole category dedicated to them on Netflix. I personally love Japanese movies.
  49. Go to a flea market. Buying things is optional, but you should definitely look around. Talk to the salespeople, too.
  50. Visit a farmer’s market. Strike up a conversation with the people who are selling their products. Perhaps buy some freshly made jam, or a bar of yummy scented goat’s milk soap. Make sure to eat lots of samples if they are offered!
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