Frustration, anxiety, that nagging feeling that you just can’t measure up – as humans, we all go through these emotions at one time or another. Add being an artist (think: melancholy personality) and a teenager (think: hormonal rollercoaster) into the mix and you might have your hands full at some point. So I want to give you some suggestions to help your teen overcome creative blocks.
Every artist has them, and each has to deal with them in his or her own way. So this list isn’t all-inclusive, just some ideas that might help when your aspiring artist needs to break through a roadblock in his or her creative process.
I’d love to hear your own suggestions as well!
10 Ways to Help Your Teen Overcome Creative Blocks
1. Instill in her the necessity of spending time with the Ultimate Creator. By learning to spend some quiet time each day with the Lord, your teen can draw upon His inspiration and creativity. The more she fellowships with Him, the easier it will be to tap into the gifts and talents He’s given her, and to be able to express herself more creatively.
2. Help her seek out positive “peer pressure.” By making friends with other artsy teens, some of their creativity will spark your teen’s. Obviously, be on the lookout for teens who are positive role models, who are respectful of others, and with whom your teen might enjoy hanging out. If you can’t find someone like this locally, then help her find people to follow online – there are plenty of creative types all over social media. Which one resonates with your teen? What does she admire about this person? They could help bring much-needed inspiration.
3. Take her on an artist date (or if she’s old enough, encourage her to go by herself). Check out museums, art galleries, craft fairs, antique shops, concerts, plays, vintage bookstores – whatever you love. Go on a nature walk and soak up the beauty of God’s creation. His creation, as well as the creativity of others can fill your teen’s soul with endless ideas. For more about “artist dates,” click here.
4. Encourage her to daydream. By allowing her mind to wander every once in a while she will give her imagination a chance to flourish. This process can relax the mind, improve memory, and give the brain a chance to explore various creative options. Ideas can begin to flow in an uncluttered environment.
5. Encourage her to experiment. Suggest she explore art techniques she’s never tried just to enjoy the moment. By surrendering herself to the process rather than the final outcome, she can forget about perfection, learn something new, gain contentment or fulfillment, and have fun all at the same time. That’s what really matters.
6. Encourage her to make creating a priority. You and I both know that as she gets older will never “find” the time to be creative, so you really need to schedule in at least once or twice a month (more if possible) to create. Try something new each time you sit down – painting, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, photography, sculpting, cake decorating – the possibilities are endless! The point is: make the time to make!
7. Have her create an “inspirational soundtrack.” I firmly believe that music can lift one’s mood, stimulate ideas, and get those creative juices flowing. So encourage her to find music that relaxes her, makes her happy, and even transports her, then create an “inspirational” playlist on her phone to listen to while she creates.
8. Have her go screen-free for a while. Sometimes an artist needs to shut out all the other voices that are screaming at him or her, and the internet and TV scream louder than most. Perhaps a couple of days without these interruptions will rekindle her creativity.
9. Suggest she read creative affirmations each day. Words are important. And the words that we speak to ourselves are the most important of all. Here is a list of 10 creative affirmations for artists that might help her break through a creative block.
10. Encourage her to join in with other creatives. Find a local painting class she can participate in, or have her start one herself – why not offer her artistic abilities to younger kids? Or simply have her invite some like-minded friends over once or twice a month to create together. If you don’t have the time or resources to devote to monthly classes, check out online courses. Here’s one of mine created especially for women and teen girls.
There are so many other great ideas that can help your teen overcome creative blocks. Has any of these ideas resonated with you or your teen? Do you have other suggestions to share with our readers? If so, comment below! We’d love to hear them.
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Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.