The blank page syndrome. The burnout moment. The empty mind feeling. Everybody, but specially those of us who work in a creative field have experienced it. Even the student during the long hours before an exam has this thought: I don’t feel like it.
And you know that it’s quite difficult to be productive when you are not feeling it right? But you know you have to do it and start as soon as possible. How can we move on from that pain and do the work?
“A blank page is no empty space. It is brimming with potential… It is a masterpiece in waiting — yours.”
― A.A. Patawaran,
Smart procrastination. That’s my answer and my method. Well, prior to that I would try to do something else that is equally urgent or important. When that doesn’t work, I decide I will have a good time and start working in a different way.
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
Let’s imagine I need to do an illustration. I don’t know where to start. I should have a concept, and I may have one, but it’s not talking to me, I’m not visualizing the painting yet.
So, what do I do?
1- I keep a folder full of images that I collect for future reference or inspiration. Things I would like to draw, inspiring pictures or others’ illustrations and paintings that I like. Going through all of my favorites could help me get a clear image of what I’d like my illustration to look like, choose a palette I want to try or just convey a feeling I want to incorporate to the piece.
2 – Option two: use Pinterest. Not in an endless search for something without even knowing what I’m looking for, but just to look through all of my boards and see if there’s a theme that I haven’t tried yet or maybe let the lifestyle of my choice inspire the real me. One that I would specially recommend is (having and) checking your dreams’ board. That will probably be more powerful and bring you some creative energy that you could use to start the work.
3 – If nothing has worked so far (which would be rare, I usually would use just one of all these items) I visit a very dangerous place: Instagram. However, I’m not talking about refreshing endlessly the feed or go stalk your favorite artists; I’m just talking about using your likes and saved instas to get you back to a moment you felt inspired. Because I will usually save a picture when it tells me a story or makes me feel a special something which I know may be useful my future uninspired me.
4 – Similar to the previous one, I often take screenshots of things I like or things I could use in the future. It’s also a good moment to check them. I must confess I usually forget about them so they sometimes are, at the least, a surprise.
5- Have you been too hard on yourself? Then it’s time to go over the old photos of travels and let my your life (and gratitude for it) be your inspiration. In the same way, I may revise my old sketches. That’s wonderful, because there might be an old drawing there deserving of some improvement.
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”
A writing problem
If it’s too hard to craft a new post, there’s hope too.
1 – Take an old post of yours and see what’s missing. Could that become a new post?
2 – I have this wonderful app called Keep, by Google, in which I jot down any idea I get at any time. When you are experiencing a block, it’s a great time to go check it.
3 – Stop and reflect. What has been going on in your life? Or to the people around you? Could something of that be transferred to your blog? What story could you tell and link to your theme? Asking questions is always a good way to start.What strategies do you have to get inspiration or dropping aside procrastination?
To know more about my process, read this post.
For books on creativity read this one.
For more resources go to Resources.