by Allison Memmo
It happens to all of us. You sit down to draw something or write a good story and just as you put your hands on the keyboard or pick up a pencil, it happens. Well, more like it doesn’t happen. Nothing. Writer’s block (or “artist’s block”, since it applies to almost anything creative) can ruin a good story, picture, song, etc. But it happens to everyone. Not every person can sit down and write a novel or paint a masterpiece without any roadblocks, but I’m here to give you some pointers for when you’re simply stuck.
Tip 1: Use what you know. If you can’t get the inspiration you need from your imagination, think about the things around you or things that happen in your everyday life. In high school, my art teacher showed me the greatest subject for any piece of art that’s always around: your hands! I know, I know, it sounds boring, but hands are very detailed and can help get you started if you’re simply stuck and feel the urge to draw. The same applies to writing. Look around you. There are probably a million (maybe not a million, but if you have a sloppy desk like me, it might be close) objects around you. Pick one and describe it. Give it a personality, memories, emotions. It may sound silly, but these attributes can be applied to characters you create down the line. There is always something around you that you can draw inspiration from, it’s up to you what you do with it.
Tip 2: Read a book. It sounds cheesy, but the best writers tend to be the best readers. If you’re suffering from a lack of creativity, pick up a favorite book or if you’re an artist looking to draw something, check out some of your favorite painter’s work online. Almost every book or painting was inspired by another work of art, so sometimes it helps to get little ideas from experts that can turn into your own creative ideas.
Tip 3: Take a break. After a while, any task can become boring, even if it’s something you love. It’s times like those that you need to take a break. If you’ve read over your story a hundred times and still can’t figure out what you need to add or take away, set it aside. It’s always helpful to let some time pass when you have a lack of creativity. Give it a few hours or maybe even a week, and then take another look. There will probably be something you missed the first time.
I hope these tips have been helpful in your creative adventures, and whatever you do, don’t give up! Remember that artist’s block happens to everyone.
APIARY is launching their fifth issue this Friday, December 7th at the Lativan Society of Philadelphia. This is their biggest issue yet, with over 10,000 copies in addition to being their first full color issue. For more info, check out the event page on Facebook here.
Sharon Flake, Philadelphia-born author of books such as The Skin I’m In and The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street will be stopping by Tree House Books on Friday, December 7th from 5-6:30pm for a reading and signing. All are welcome and encouraged to call (215)236-1760 for more information.