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When the Muse Has Left the Building

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What do you do when your artwork bores you?

How long do you work through the boredom? Maybe you’re unsure about how to handle the fact that you’re bored, but don’t completely chuck out or destroy it all. Hang on, calm down, read this post first. I’ve got some tips to try first. If these don’t help… I give you permission to destroy your work. It may be cathartic anyway. 😉

Tip 1: Change your routine

A lot of creators tend to create alone – I’m included in that group – but go too long without social interaction or thinking too much in my head I usually run out of creative energy sooner or later. So, go have some fun on Pinterest, read a book, watch a movie, talk to a friend on the phone, or (my favorite) go people watching! Have a notebook with you to write down ideas (if you’re like me and forget things quickly).

Tip 2: Walk away

Put everything down, step back and look at your artwork from literally a fresh perspective. Turn your canvas upside down. This is a very important step in the creation process. It’s possible to get really deeply into your work that you get lost in the work and this can distort your view. Sometimes when I walk away from a work I stay away for a few days or even weeks.

Tip 3: Start over

I can’t tell you how many paintings I’ve painted over or made into something else. It often happens what I start working on goes nowhere or better idea comes along. Paint over what you do. It may turn out to be better than you initially intended.

Tip 4: Destroy it.

Your muse may have left the building. Maybe you were given this really great idea or inspiration, but you took too long to finish it or you just down’t jive with it. The idea has most likely moved on to someone else or it may come back around to you, but that may not be for awhile. Use this time as a sort of therapy session and shred it, burn it, tear it up, move on to a fresher idea.

If you have other ideas of what to do while in an artwork burnout, share it in the comments.


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