Friday, April 15, 2011

Reverse creative block

Question that I have never really talked about with any artist before.

Have you ever had a reverse creative block where you sit down at your desk and want to be working of 20 different projects but in the end get so little done because you are thinking about everything else? I know the solution is to just work hard and get as much done as you can, but at the same time I feel like I'm rushing out less than awesome work just to move on to the next project.

Help a Bob out and let me know what you think.


  1. ALL THE TIME. Kennedy will tell you that I can throw a billion ideas per hour for projects and whatnot, but it's just finding the time and mental capacity to knock them out while I'm passionate about them!

    What I've been doing that's really been helping me, is literally keeping one of those big monthly/weekly calendars in my room. On every single day, I write down exactly what I'm going to do for each idea (which I title so that I can keep track, of course). One day will be painting a piece I'm already working on, titled A1. Also on that day will be sketching rough ideas for A2. The following day is finish A1, begin painting A2. Just something like that, I'm sure you get the jist.

    I know it sounds so silly and simple, but I swear, it's a godsend!

  2. I had this problem a couple of months ago. What I did is thumbnail the idea in a sketchbook when it hit me, and then I'd leave it for later.

    Right now I'm in the midst of a creative block, so whenever I can't think of a new idea, I refer to my old sketchbook.

    What's interesting for me is the time gap and the loss of passion for the idea is actually beneficial. When I return to the thumbnail, I'm more critical about the idea, which forces me to figure out how to make the composition interesting again. In the long run, it makes for better results

  3. Thinking about all the projects at once is an overwhelming feeling. So overwhelming your mind starts to digress from what needs to be done and you end up watching a movie, or staring at the wall for longer than you intended to. Distractions are also the devil. Having an organizational memo to follow is a good idea, but one has to be disciplined enough to follow it and stay put with it. It's a hard thing to do, especially when youre working on one project and then all of a sudden a rush of different ideas pop into your head like a menu at a drive through.."I want this instead"... Do we get bored easily? Is there dedication? And how long does dedication last for? ....Im also victim of this quandary.

  4. Everyone here has said it in one way or another, but organization and time management are the keys.

    I recently had 5 different jobs all due within a few days of each other and wanted to make sure I was doing my best on all of them. I had to organize according to deadline first, but then also complexity. I like what Lucas said about the thumbnail - that really helps. It gets the idea down in a coherent manner allowing precious brain energy to be used in other needed areas. I got all the jobs done and to my personal level of satisfaction because I was able to remain focused and organized.

  5. I think its good to get all the projects up and running rather than work sequentially and have things on the back burner. That way I'm always developing something, there's no down time while something is drying. Right now I'm painting two at once at the studio (just took a break for supper) and I find that its efficient and that one painting informs the other. I can do this with three, but four gets a bit much for me. Then the sketchier things happen in the sketchbook on the bus, at school, occasionally at home (not often). I am not organised or disciplined enough for the daily task list. I just know how much time I have available to work, when my deadlines are and that I dont allow myself the option to miss them. I find the deadlines are the organisational tool that help filter the less vital, more recreational projects to the bottom of the pile.

  6. Bob & Sons,
    I am having this very problem myself. I cannot find which idea to roll with and it is the most stifling thing ever! I'm dig'n everyone's advice & contribution and I'm going to do what you Sons have recommended!

    Also, I came across this most interesting NPR snippet from the show RadioLab...this episode Titled, "HELP: What to do when your worst enemy is yourself" - let me know what yous think

    Good luck & Thanks Everyone,


  7. I'm a little late but... I AGREE WITH EVERYONE! I literally make a new list every day, basically repeating the previous days list, but physically re-writing it everyday reminds myself of all the things I want and need to do. Then I'll start several things so, like Kennedy said, I'll have multiple things going on. Some don't get finished for a whole year... others in less than a day. But my lists help me remember ideas and it helps filter what's most important to me... For instance, if something makes it in the top three of my list for several days in a row, I'll know to dedicate time for that project in the near future. I also make little stars next to things I've started, and crazy doodles for things I've finished... Reminds me to be proud of myself.