Inspiration Killers and Catalysts

I was doing some research a few weeks ago about what topics really matter to artists. Most of my initial guesses (products, tutorials, social media) seemed to be addressed by many but not commonly searched.

Then I searched for “inspiration”.

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It’s something that I’ve often thought of and searched for, but not online. I was surprised by the number of people searching online to solve the problem of loosing inspiration.

Every creative person knows that continually being “creative” can be a struggle. Getting past whatever “block” we’re in can be frustrating; especially the longer it takes. So I spent some time thinking it over.

Here are my top 5 Inspiration Killers and (what I humbly suggest) to do about it.

#1 Not Taking Care of Yourself

Yes, I know this is an obvious choice, but just think of how often we ignore it. Actually, chances are there are some of you that excel at taking care of yourself. If this is you… please start a blog and help me out. Just sayin’…

When I come home after a long day with 5-yr-olds (as a Kindergarten Teacher), the last thing I want to do is grocery shop for healthy things. Then cook the healthy things. Forget about exercise… I chased children! That counts right? Then it’s on with the sweat pants and I’m sitting at my drafting table wondering why I’m staring at it instead of creating on it. Before I know it, it’s midnight and I’m setting my alarm for 6:30 AM.

I do have times when I’m better at taking care of myself, and I find that it helps all aspects of my life. Not just my art.

  • Sleep: You’ll have ideas and the energy to actually execute them!
  • Exercise: Take a walk. Do something simple. I’m amazed at just how much more energy I have after getting over the hump of the first week or two.
  • Eat Right: Let go of feeling bloated and lethargic.
  • Invest in the Spiritual part of yourself: If this applies to you, go for it! I find that this is the center of taking care of myself. From this point, I can do the others. If anything, just take time to be mindful and grateful.

#2 Environment

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This is going to play out different for everyone. What I suggest is to write down what you absolutely hate in your environment and what makes you feel alert, creative and productive. Here are my lists for example:

Things That Irritate or Demotivate Me

  • Not having materials accessible
  • Disorganization
  • Ugliness
  • Poor lighting
  • Silence

My Ideal Environment

  • Clean and organized
  • Well lit
  • Music playing
  • Beautiful and personalized

#3 Negativity

This is probably what I hear from artists the most. It is so easy to be hard on yourself and your work.

“I’m not as good as that other artist.”

“My art isn’t original enough.”

“I just can’t (fill in the blank).”

Decide to give yourself permission to fail and space to grow.

If you really want to improve in this area, I highly recommend researching “growth mindset”. There is so much information out there and it will help you set yourself up to improve your art.

#4 Waiting

I am coming off a 7 year break from art because of… well life… but also a lot of waiting. So I’m talking to myself here when I say…

Waiting isn’t going to help you at all.

If you’re waiting for just the right something, you’ll probably be waiting a long time. Keep your skills and artistic mindset by doing small projects between larger ones.

#5 The Social Media Trap

This is the sneaky one. The one we don’t really want to admit is affecting us, but it is. Having recently started a YouTube channel, Instagram and a blog… I’m having to watch this closely myself. Even if you’re not using social media, this still applies when you share your work.

Basically, the trap is using other people’s opinions to measure your work. To some extent this makes sense. Constructive criticism is a wonderful tool, for example.

Here’s where it get’s unhealthy.

Using social media as a scale to measure how…

popular     skilled     worthy     attractive   valuable

your work is. OR WORSE… you are.


I hope this motivates you to invest in yourself

and to create an atmosphere of inspiration.


QUESTION: What Inspiration Killer or Catalyst has the most impact on you?

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