Module 19 — Just Hanging Out

Some days, you really want to get in the studio and work on your art, but you just don’t have the energy. Or maybe you are trying to develop a habit of working every day, or three times a week, on your art, but sometimes the effort of hauling everything out is just too much. 

Or you are eager to work, but you feel scattered and you’re afraid to work on that piece you’ve already invested so much time in. Or maybe you just don’t seem to have any good ideas. None of the projects you were working on excite you, but you can’t think of anything new to work on, either. 

What if you just don’t have any creative “juice” today?

Module 19 Thinking Prompt—Filling the Well

Creating art is joyful, hopeful, meaningful work. But it is work. It can take a lot of energy and focus sometimes. Especially when you are doing something like this course, pushing yourself to try new things and new ways of thinking. 

What Do You Need Today?

How do you decide whether to push yourself a bit, or take a break? Can you tell when you’re reluctant because 

  • you’ve had an exhausting week and you really need a nap?
  • you’re hesitant to start the scary next step in that new painting?
  • you need some physical activity?
  • you’ve run out of creative energy? 

Planning Creative Solutions Ahead of Time

It helps to plan in advance (when you do have energy) for the times when you want to connect with your creativity, but don’t have a lot of energy.

Some examples:

  • Need a nap? Practice your visualization skills and help yourself relax toward sleep by imagining yourself inside a scene you want to paint. Imagine a real scene, or actually imagine yourself inside a painting!
  • Not sure of the next step in your painting? Design a simpler painting where you can “rehearse” that step. For example, if you need to add some little people and you’re not sure you can consistently make the shapes, why not create some little postcards of people with just a suggestion of green under their feet and a blue sky overhead?
  • Need some physical activity? Go out for a hike without your sketchbook or camera, and give yourself permission to simply notice and enjoy the beauty all around you.

You get the idea.

In today’s thinking prompt, start by listing the situations where you find yourself not working on your art, even though you want to. For each of these situations, can you make a plan for how to stay connected to your art and engaged with your creativity? 

Or not, if that’s what the day calls for. I’s okay to also have—or even schedule—days when you just don’t push yourself to be creative. Most artists need to get entirely away from their work from time to time. You’ll come back with renewed energy and fresh eyes.

Module 19 Activity Prompt—Replenishing Creative Energy

Another strategy is to make time to do things that get you excited about your art. Today, do something that fills you with enthusiasm for getting into the studio. It might or might not involve actually making marks in your studio notebook. 

Here are some ideas: 

  • browse your studio notebook or past sketchbooks, enjoying memories or re-discovering past ideas that you didn’t have time or experience to develop (but maybe now you do!)
  • doodle in the margins or embellish the borders of notebook pages with patterns, metallics, stencils, etc. 
  • make some time to hang out with another artist (or several), just for the pleasure of talking about your work (or avoiding it!) with someone who will understand completely
  • browse art on Pinterest or Google Arts & Culture ( or in an actual museum or galleries, just for the pleasure of it, without requiring yourself to actively study anything
  • pull out some creative supplies you love but haven’t used in a while, and just enjoying looking at them and remembering or anticipating using them 
  • buy that set of 64 (or more) Crayolas you always wanted as a kid
  • make a cup of tea and stare out the window while imagining the amazing art you would make if time, money, skill, and even the laws of physics were no obstacle
  • watch a movie with great cinematography paying attention to the way the shots were composed and edited

Module 19 Journaling Together Video

Scroll to Top