Got creative block? 5 fave artists share tools to overcome it

A creative block is like the jealous toxic third wheel you’re forced to put up with in your relationship with creativity. We all know and hate it: the way it makes us question our self-worth, the way it stops us from doing what we love most and terrified that we’ll never make art again.

There’s no way of escaping it. If you’re a creative, you’re bound to get mired in creative block more than once. So to help you be prepared, 10and5 has stocked up a survival kit for you to crack out the next time you’re fighting the great nemesis.

Amy Ayanda

Fans of Cape Town-based singer-songwriter and painter Amy Ayanda know and love her for her melancholy music, simplistic pastel paintings and Instagram posts of her adorable baby.

Photo by Kent Andreason

What’s your cure for creative block? Do something you don’t usually do. I draw something more figurative if I have been working on something abstract, or make a fun collage if I am stuck on a big oil painting. Alternatively, take the dog for a walk and take a few days off from the medium, if your deadline allows it.
Ultimate Creative Block Survival Kit tool: All my old visual diaries! Follow Amy.

Bella Cox

Queen of the Mic 2016-17 for Word n Sound South Africa, Bella Cox is a spoken word poet, vocalist and writer who was raised in Kenya and now lives in London. Having once hosted a Tedx talk, Bella dreams of “making poetry accessible to the youth as a means of self-expression, self-discovery and growth”.

How do you overcome creative block? Creative block stems from a lack of stimulus, so my tip would be to surround yourself with art and artists that inspire you and challenge your comfort zone. Sit yourself in a room and read, read, read until you find something that speaks to you.
Ultimate survival kit tools: A crate of books, poetry collections and films you haven’t yet seen, attending open mic nights to gain more inspiration, and getting three really good nights of sleep that leave you feeling refreshed. Also, home-cooked, fresh food and an exercise plan to keep your brain working at optimum levels! Follow Bella.

Jabulile Pearl Hlanze

Jabulile Pearl Hlanze is a Joburg-based photojournalist and documentary photographer. “I love documenting daily life because I believe seeing your own characteristics in other people through pictures gives people an opportunity to introspect and meditate on their own lives,” she says.

How do you dispel creative block? Creative block is part of the process in creating; be aware of it and embrace that moment. Perhaps take a break and read a book. This will allow you to decrease your anxiety and be in a calmer frame of mind. I love taking walks. Breathing some fresh air while taking in the scenery gives me renewed energy to deal with and focus on what I was initially working on.
Ultimate survival kit tools: A pencil and some paper. I find drawing or sketching calming. Follow Jabulile.

Yannick Meyer

Yannick Meyer is a singer-songwriter, poet and producer from Cape Town.

Yannick (far left).

What’s your prescription against creative block?
First, accept the creative block and allow yourself to be calm in feeling stuck. Personally I like to either listen to artists who inspire me, or take up another unrelated creative activity like drawing or painting. I find this process generally stimulates the creative part of the brain and can help with the birth of new ideas.
Ultimate Creative Block Survival Kit tool: A fat joint – just kidding! A book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron; it’s a classic and can definitely aid in creative recovery. Follow Yannick.

Ellen Heydenrych

Ellen Heydenrych is a Eastern Cape-based illustrator, graphic designer, and journalism student. She creates pen and ink illustrations, combining traditional and digital mediums.
 Prescription against creative block: Set yourself creative tasks. There are so many wonderful challenges that can get your creative juices flowing, such as Inktober and 36 Days of Type. Author Maya Angelou said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Follow Ellen.
Header image courtesy of Amy Ayanda

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