In tricky times my art has always been there. It helps me process difficult feelings in my journal, express myself with paint and ink or bring easy joy with mixed media crafting. Except now it’s not. Is this you too? What do you do when making art just doesn’t feel good?

In these strange times, making art just isn’t always helping. I can’t focus, my emotions are all over the place and nothing distracts me enough from worrisome thoughts.

For a few days, I didn’t paint, journal or craft. I felt quite confused as my usual routines disappeared without any structure to replace them. I felt I should have been grateful for the extra time to be creative, isn’t this what I always wanted? Yet, the painting I had started days before was left untouched.

Was I supposed to show up anyway, do the work, force something to happen even if it was awful? Was it ok to admit that art couldn’t make it better right now?

On top of this, I noticed the creative people all around me jumping in with free classes, social media challenges and buying online courses to fill their extra hours. Instead I was grateful I hadn’t committed to an art class.

If you are feeling like making art and crafting is not what you want to do, you are not alone. I’ve been dipping in and out of this feeling for a couple of weeks and I want to share what has helped me, just in case it can help you.

Put inspiration in, rather than trying to put something out

It’s hard to imagine any inspiration online that doesn’t involve current whirlwind social media but there is.

I love to listen to podcasts. These familiar voices become like friends as they chat in your room while you tidy, create or relax. These are my current favourites. Go back to earlier episodes with no mentions of current events that might make you feel nervous or worried.

The Room in the Trees

Laura Horn Art

Art Juice

Routines and Ruts

Something old

If you have time to fill, go back to a favourite book, dig out your crochet hook or something that gives you a familiar comfort. I put on a favourite box set and pulled out my favourite books.

Don’t beat yourself up

If you don’t feel creative or you’re adjusting to new circumstances at home, be gentle with yourself while you find a new routine for your day. Find a new way to fill your cup so you can take care of others.

Share others art

One of the most helpful things for me was the community I found on Instagram. I scrolled through my feed and shared some of the beautiful art I saw along with messages of support for those struggling or joy for what they had brought to my day.

These stories of gratitude lifted my spirits and gave other artists a little boost too. This simple action connected me with so many other people.

Your creativity will return

Yesterday, I woke feeling like I wanted to go back to the half finished canvas. I painted for a short while and was grateful for the time. Today the spark has disappeared again while I deal with more practical issues at home. This evening, I’ll go with the flow a bit. I’m going to try writing in my journal instead.

When you’re ready, your creative spark will return. In the meantime, stay home if can, keep yourself and others safe and be gentle with yourself.