My head is empty and my hand is not doing what I want. And I don’t know what I want. The result is not OK. I lost it, it seems…

I make drawing after drawing since last week and an empty feeling invades me and a warm shame washes over me: I hate what I made ! I tear my drawing apart and throw my sketchbook across the room as soon as I get home. And I grab a book and read. I escape in the words… Don’t feel like it anymore. 

My drawings seem boring. Nobody will like them. I feel like an imposter and incompetent. Resistance prevents me from getting back to work. The resistance is the inner critic, the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, don’t show up, hide your ugly drawing, don’t make a fool of yourself, go slow, compromise…. The resistance is writer’s block, the resistance is what prevented you staying an artist when you grew up. And anyway, I’m out of ideas!

Where do you get your ideas? 

I found this great article about Picasso on Intuition, How Creativity Works, and Where Ideas Come From on Maria Popova’s great website

“To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing.”

Amen! Where do your ideas come from?  

“I don’t have a clue”, says Picasso. “Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”

Ideas and inspiration will come, but they have to find you working hard!

Neil Gaiman is also a great stimulation:

“For me, inspiration comes from a bunch of places: desperation, deadlines… A lot of times ideas will turn up when you’re doing something else. And, most of all, ideas come from confluence — they come from two things flowing together. They come, essentially, from daydreaming. . . . And I suspect that’s something every human being does. Writers tend to train themselves to notice when they’ve had an idea — it’s not that they have any more ideas or get inspired more than anything else; we just notice when it happens a little bit more.”


And also his speech about making good art: You have to accept failure. The problems of failure, discouragement, hunger,… are hard to deal with and can be paralyzing. There’re hard. But “If you are not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.”

And like Neil says so well: 

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

And above all: enjoy yourself !

So I think the best thing I can do is get back to work. Make the monkey in my head shut up, stop fearing failure… Make a drawing everyday, even if it’s only a 5-minute sketch: all small work will make you progress!

What are your tricks to overcome fear?


Tell me in the comments below, as it can help a lot of people 🙂

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