What to do when you’ve got nothing

As any creative person knows, there are times when you know you really should be practicing or coming up with new projects, but all your brain really wants to do is shut down, play Skyrim, and watch old TV. You search through your mind for something creative and new and original, and all you find is a gray haze where ideas used to be. You’ve got nothing.

 

And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that.

Everybody goes through a slump from time to time, or hits a plateau where progress used to be. As long as you’re not doing Your Creative Thing professionally and paying the bills with it, it’s okay to let things get a little slack when the idea well is running a little low. As a hobbyist, there’s no one sitting in judgement over you – no boss, no client, no one. So it’s fine to take a little time off to recharge.

But – and this is important – don’t completely quit. Assign yourself one small creative task to do every day, and make sure you do it. It doesn’t have to challenge you as a Creator, but it should at least keep your skills active and allow you to produce something. For me, it’s the Word of the Day over on Reddit’s calligraphy sub. As long as I’ve done that, then I’ve done my work for the day. That box is ticked. Anything after that is bonus.

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It’s not always beautiful, folks.

You can do the same thing – Google “word of the day” and take what comes up. Here:

There – that ought to keep us occupied.

So, if you’re like me, and the creative juices aren’t very juicy right now, it’s okay – the muse will return, and hopefully with some good souvenirs from its vacation. Until then, keep your habits good, your instruments clean, and your hopes up.

Do you have any sure-fire techniques for beating the doldrums? Let us know in the comments!

What to do, what to do…

One of the occasional stumbling blocks of working on calligraphy is the issue of source material. Now if you’re a naturally poetic person, you can come up with all your own words – and gods love you if you do. But some of us need help, so here are a few places to go if you need things to write down.

I’ll start on Reddit, because I get so much material from there. First of all, if you’re not on /r/calligraphy then you should most certainly join. It’s a good place to meet others at a variety of skill levels and there is a regular Word of the Day and Quote of the Week for you to use as practice material. If you need more to practice with, I usually go to either /r/logophilia or /r/wordoftheday and start plowing through the listings. Off that site, you can go to places like Luciferous Logolepsy or The Phrontistery and take some interesting words from there.

If quotations are your thing, Wikiquote is an endless source of material to work from, as are Brainyquote and Goodreads.

Pinterest also has a lot of good inspiration for calligraphy projects that you might be able to be inspired by. Want to practice your envelopes? Go to a fake name generator and go to town. Behind the Name has a wonderful random name generator if you want to work on your ornamental penmanship.

The point is that there is no end to the amount of resources available to you for inspiration when you need to practice. The doldrums can be unpleasant, so switch up what you’re doing – try a new script or a new resource and see what kind of creativity bubbles up.

As a bonus, here are a few of my resources for you:

Have great sites or other resources of your own to share? Let us know in the comments!