What inspires a masterpiece, a great song, or the finest work of art? This is one of the many unsolved mysteries of the modern world. Some cite divine inspiration or pure talent. Others, grit, and sheer determination. Everyone finds his or her inspiration somewhere and there is no blueprint for success.

But what happens when that inspiration is nowhere to be found? When the proverbial creative well runs dry?  

Enter creative block! The dreaded cloud of self-doubt.

Creative block is a problem that all creative people face at one point in their career. One day, your mind can be full of great ideas and the next, all of the good ideas take flight.

Luckily, there are ways to restart your creative thinking process.

Here are 5 suggestions on how to rise up and out of that self-doubt, reignite that creative fire and get back to producing your best work.

1. Change your environment

They (whoever “they” are) say that change is as good as a rest, so give your workspace a reboot! Move the furniture around, clean off your surfaces, get those art supplies in order. A little organization can go a long way. Perhaps channel some inspiring music into your newly rebooted work environment to get the creative juices flowing.

Giving your mind a new environment to work in will help make space for new ideas. Plus, giving yourself a creative outlet within your living space can help spark your creative thinking process back into action.

2. Get inspired

Get your glam on and head out to that local art show, talk to the artist, look closely at the work, ask questions. Ask the artist how THEY handle creative block. Visit a local institution, check out your local museum website for promotions, special exhibits or artist offers. Many of the larger institutions offer discount memberships for artists, MoMa, for example, offers an annual artist membership for $35 and it’s tax deductible!

Surround yourself with other creative geniuses and let their creative ideas spark some of your own. If you don’t get any new ideas right away, that’s okay too. Trust the process and continue to give your mind space and stimulation to get the creative juices flowing.

3. Make time

Waiting for inspiration to land in your lap is like waiting to win the lottery without buying a ticket. There is a lot of truth to the saying “you have to be in it to win it” even when it applies to being creative. Inspiration will find you, but it is more likely to find you if you are working.

Carve out a window of time, whether it’s 30 minutes or a whole entire Sunday, to commit to your creative work. Just do it. Commit to it, eliminate distractions (yes, put away your iPhone) and get to work. What’s the worst that happens? You make some bad art? Guess what, the more bad art you create, the closer you are to that masterpiece! Picasso was not an overnight success. It is estimated that he created 50,000 pieces in his lifetime. Were they all showstoppers, I doubt it. Even the creative geniuses have to let their creative mind go through the process. Get committed to the journey of self-expression rather than the quality of the end product.

4. Learn something new

There is always more to learn. In fact, being in a perpetually curious state of existing is, in and of itself, what being an artist is all about. Why not take a class? Check out your local education resources, art schools, and libraries for learning opportunities. Whether it’s a hands on Pottery 101 or a literature course, it’s all about expanding your horizons and opening up those channels of creativity.

Can’t find a class in your neighborhood? Check out the massive resources available online. There are tutorials on YouTube for anything and everything you can imagine, as well as resources such as Skillshare, Linda, and Udemy for the more involved online learning approach. Help get your mind into creative mode by feeding it new ideas and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

5. Get some natural inspiration

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” If it was good enough for Albert Einstein, it’s good enough for me! Get outside! Take a walk in nature. Hike a local trail. Sit by the ocean, or beside a lake. Observe your surroundings; take in the textures and colors, the smells and sounds. Like Paul Cezanne said, “Art is harmonious with nature” Indulge the senses in the good old outdoors and take that inspiration back with you to your studio.

Creative people run into creative blocks. It happens and is a natural part of the process. While being in a rut is not fun, sometimes it is inevitable. Luckily, there are ways to get your thoughts churning with creativity. It takes a bit of effort, a lot of patience, and space to let the creative thoughts flow. It’s a part of the entire creative process!

Happy Creating!