Ever feel like you’re losing your mind when in a creative rut? The only thing on your mind is, why can’t I finish this project or think of a good idea? Art is a deeply personal and often emotional expression of oneself. No wonder artists can become overly attached to their work and take themselves too seriously. While it’s natural to want to produce the best result possible, taking yourself too seriously can lead to self-doubt and fear of failure and limit your creativity.
I Was in a Creative Rut, So I Tried This
When you take yourself too seriously in art, it can manifest in various ways. You may feel stressed or anxious about your work, criticize yourself excessively, or become defensive or resistant to feedback. You start to look over the fence and notice everyone else seems to be cranking out the most beautiful things. And now you might feel like your work could be better; you might begin to lose the joy and spontaneity of the creative process. These negative thought patterns can limit your creative potential and stifle your ability to create.
Strategies for Letting Go and Having Fun
Let it go, Let it go, and embrace the joy of creating; it can be helpful to practice mindfulness techniques. When you stay present in the moment, you can let go of expectations and judgment and enjoy the process of making art. Playful exercises, such as blind contour painting or collaborative drawing games, can help you loosen up and embrace mistakes. When you let go of expectations and allow yourself to have fun with the creative process, you likely find that you create better work. Try something you’ve never tried just for fun with no intention of showing the masses. You may pick up a new technique and give yourself a chance to explore.
Laughter has numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being, including reducing stress and boosting creativity. Incorporating humor and absurdity into your art can help break down self-imposed barriers and encourage new and innovative ideas. Laughing at your mistakes and seeing their humor can help you overcome self-doubt and criticism. Sharing your work with others, I tried painting a face, and something felt off. I showed a trusted friend, and she said she had a giant booger in her nose, and we laughed so hard. Finding joy in the creative process can also be a powerful tool for overcoming feelings of self-doubt and criticism.
Take a Break
Get outside and do something outside of your regular workspace. Drive and explore; head to a place you’ve wanted to check out. I have found inspiration and renewed creative energy by doing small things for myself, making homemade tea and plating it on a pretty dish, and sitting outside in the sun. Stopping at a town, I drive past often and say I need to check that out, and I never do. I now make a list in my notes on my phone for the time I need to get out and get re-inspired. Ask the locals if they know the nearby hidden gems.
Jump Out of That Creative Rut!
It’s essential not to take yourself too seriously in art. When you let go of rigid expectations and embrace the joy and spontaneity of the creative process, you open yourself up to new possibilities and experiences. Incorporating laughter and humor into your art can enhance creativity and reduce stress. So, the next time you sit down to create, remember to lighten up, embrace your mistakes, and find joy. Your work improves, and you have more fun making it. Embrace the unknown. By learning not to take yourself too seriously, you can open yourself up to new possibilities and ideas. Remember to embrace imperfection, use humor, collaborate with others, take breaks, and not take criticism personally. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a more enjoyable and successful creative process.
Kimberly is the owner and artist behind Rubbish Restyled and The Creative Mingo. You can find her retail and teaching studio in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. She is best known for her colorful whimsy furniture creations and her specialty is fun inviting spaces for creative gatherings and party hosting. Kimberly is a wife and mother of three sons and resides in Milton, Wisconsin.View Kimberly’s Full Bio