Creative block is an inability to work

Creative BlockAccording to Rose’s assertion (1984) Creative block is an inability to work in one’s chosen medium that was not due to a lack of skill or commitment. In essence, the creative process is stopped or blocked by some force or attitude. In addition, creative blocks are such abstract notions that it’s hard to pin down a specific definition of what they are and why they occur. According to Cooper (2014) the general consensus seems to be that a period of time when an artist can’t access their inspiration or can’t bring themselves to create new work. A research study by Sarah Richards (2008) revealed that artist’s block is almost a tangible experience. It has been hard to actively disengage from its hold, as it is not always clear what has caused the block or how to get rid of it.

There is usually a desire to be creative. There are great imaginings of what one could or would do, followed by the excuses or the despair. Similarly, an article by Gonithellis (2017) stated that creative blocks, or barriers to inspiration, can be described as the inability to access one’s internal creativity. According to Flaherty (2004) writer’s block is the combination of not being able to write and suffering because of this inability. Writer’s block can feel like inarticulateness, an inability to express the ideas inside you, or a general lack of ideas.

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Flaherty indicated in her book The Midnight Disease in which it is speculated that writer’s block likely has much in common with other forms of creative block, such as those experienced by musicians and visual artists, but that much more has been written about writers’ condition because writing is their medium. Nevertheless, she argued that the expansion of the term creative block should be limited to creative disciplines, where divergent thinking is paramount and the creative problem is not well defined. This later feature of art making explains why there is no such thing as “accountant’s block” or “doctor’s block;” problems are evident within those domains and the solution has been memorized in advance. The issue of ‘fear’ seems to underlie many of the causes for artist’s block. As stated by Cameron (1995) “Fear is what blocks an artist, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of not finishing, the fear of failure and success, the fear of beginning at all.” He mentioned that it feels that the cause of the blocks has been misnamed.

Rather than regarding blocked artists as ‘lazy’, their condition should be seen as “fear”.Additional fears that could give rise to creative block, according to Bayles and Orland (2011), are related to the degree to which artists’ senses of self tend to be interconnected with their work. Fears of not making good enough art translate into fears of not being good enough, and this cognitive error could be fatal. Other artists may fear the flip side of this, which is a fear of connecting with and/or revealing vulnerable parts of themselves through their art. Another cause of block is within the realm of the process of art making, namely, that “vision is always ahead of execution;” that the music a composer hears in his head is beyond his current skill level to capture on paper.According to Bill Plotkin’s book Soulcraft (2003) the use of the natural environment as a challenging environment in which people can explore their deeper selves and overcome issues that may be hindering their personal growth and happiness. The book does not specifically refer to the issue of artist’s block, but it does explore aspects of general human nature which also affect artists. In this situation, it is the issue of fear.


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