Every artist has moments where they are unable to channel inspiration, but supportive followers can carry them forward.
We’ve all had moments when we felt like hitting brick walls. Writers might have a text processor open, a white page empty except for a blinking cursor, unable to fill lines with words. Musical producers might mix sounds that end up as unoriginal tracks. For painters and illustrators, the process of visualizing the shapes and colors that could populate a canvas might feel overwhelming.
For people whose images, music, or writing is not merely a creative outlet, but also their way of earning a living, the creative block can feel like an all-enveloping threat. Its impact on a creator can have multiple dimensions: emotional, professional, and financial.
Creative block happens to even the most prolific media producers. There’s no single cause — the paralyzing feeling could stem from an abundance of options, where a starting point isn’t immediately evident. It could also emerge from fear, whether it’s the uneasiness that comes about when there is a possibility of rejection or the dread of having to deal with critics who are ready to pick apart others’ work.
Even though creative block comes and goes, it’s important to keep it in check. There are a few good ways to break out of this state of mind; some are even unique to the context of web3 co-creation.
Creators’ Advice on Recapturing the Feeling to Build
Creative block — or blank canvas paralysis — often stems from self-doubt. Even the most seasoned creators can go through phases when they feel sapped of enthusiasm. This can lead to a downward spiral, landing the creator in a state of perpetual uncertainty, unable to start new projects.
The Hiena, one of the first creators to become part of Joyn, describes creative block as something that is ever-present, so it must be acknowledged:
The most effective way of resolving a creative block is to recognize its existence and undergo a reset. A problem can only be solved if we know what the barrier is — and believe that we can overcome it.
This can mean a change in one’s physical environment — some people take walks to be alone in nature, while others might choose to be part of a crowd and reclaim inspiration in the many interactions taking place around them.
BOXHEAD, another of Joyn’s early adopters, lets her subconscious pull her out of slumps:
These physical resets can spark new thoughts, breaking down the barriers that previously prevented creators from forming ideas to start something new. Also, some creators experiment with new ways of expressing themselves — a painter may pour their feelings into a poem, and a writer could try to capture moods in photographs.
Many other creators chimed in when we asked about what they do to overcome blank canvas paralysis. Each shared what worked best for them — some “reset” by shifting to other tasks and choosing to return to creating new work only when it gives them pleasure. Another suggestion was to use prompts to kick-start the creative process.
An important component of overcoming this paralyzing state is to recognize that you can begin creating again.
If you feel overwhelmed, then tune out the noise. This might be switching off chat and email notifications, or it could be stepping away from the overpowering feedback that you’re receiving.
If you are having trouble committing to the first brushstroke, sentence, or musical note, then experiment with light, private work that is just for yourself — think of it as a warm-up exercise.
If the prospect of facing critics is weighing you down, then seek advice from people whose opinions you trust. Their feedback should be what matters to you.
If you feel burned out, then be kind to yourself. Step back and take time to recharge. Seek inspiration from others’ work that you enjoy.
Remember that creative blocks can be cleared. Oftentimes, all it takes is a little bit of time and care.
Co-Creation as a Solution for Creative Block
There is another way to give your creative process a jolt. By creating in public and forming a community that believes in the value of your project, you will always have support when you need it.
Creators who choose to build new projects in the web3 context can consistently engage their collaborators and followers. If a project ever becomes overwhelming, there could be dozens or even hundreds of people ready to help share the load. And if you feel like you’re unable to channel the right inspiration and don’t know where to start, talking to people who believe in your creative vision can help break the impasse.
Joyn was built to help all types of creators form supportive communities who not only act as backers and patrons but also as the strongest advocates. That’s the power of massively collaborative creation, and how Joyn’s vision of fostering web3 co-creation is the way forward for all types of artists.
It is extremely rare for any type of artist to be able to consistently show up every day and make new work. For everyone else, Joyn’s community of Producers, Co-Creators, and Backers will always be there to provide the boost that’s needed. Besides, these communities can empower creative projects in other ways too. To find out how that can unfold, get involved with Joyn by signing up for early access at joyn.xyz.