How to Overcome a Creative Block - Based on 10 Quotes from Steal Like an Artist

How to Overcome a Creative Block - Based on 10 Quotes from Steal Like an Artist

HAY, how art you? Everyone is a creator of sorts; we have all written, made, drawn, sung, or built something at one point in our lives. The most dreaded thing that can happen to any creator has got to be a creative block, which can last for days, months, or even years (shucks). Austin Kleon detailed ten creativity tips in his book “Steal Like an Artist”, which I found to be powerful mantras for creators stuck in a creative rut. Read on for 10 quotes from the book to learn how to overcome a creative block!


#1 “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”

According to Austin Kleon, creation is often a remix or improvisation of previous ideas. So, break free of the shackles of having to be 100% original all the time.

#2 “If I’d waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started “being creative”, well, I’d still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things.”

You know the phrase “be yourself“? That’s exactly it, you just have to be.

#3 “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”

The artist often makes according to his or her interests and preferences. However, if we think like a consumer and ask ourselves, “would I fall in love with this art?”, this mindset shift could become a game-changer

Austin Kleon Steal Like an Artist Creativity Quotes

#4 “You know that phrase, “going through the motions”? That’s what’s so great about creative work: If we just start going through the motions, if we strum a guitar, or shuffle sticky notes around a conference table, or start kneading clay, the motion kickstarts our brain into thinking.”

Creativity can’t be planned. It happens in the doing. Get up and start making something!

#5 “Take time to mess around. Get lost. Wander. You never know where it’s going to lead you.”

Sometimes it’s okay to not know where you are headed, you’ll figure along the way

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#6 “Having a container can inspire us to fill it.”

Start a blog; make a twitter or instagram account. Grab a notepad, sketchbook or journal. Start first, and worry about filling them up later

#7 “If you’re not into the world you live in, you can build your own world around you. Surround yourself with books and objects that you love. Tape things up on the wall. Create your own world.”

Be proactive and create your ideal workspace. If that is not possible for you, head outside to find a spot that gets your creative juices flowing. 

#8 “Write a blog post about someone’s work that you admire and link to their site. Make something and dedicate it to your hero. Answer a question they’ve asked, solve a problem for them, or improve on their work and share it online.”

Show your appreciation for someone who has inspired you and create content at the same time

#9 “Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time. Inertia is the death of creativity. You have to stay in the groove.”

It is not practical to expect creative work to just happen. Set aside time to explore, experiment and make. 

#10 “It’s often what an artist chooses to leave out that makes the art interesting. What isn’t shown versus what is. It’s the same for people: What makes us interesting isn’t just what we’ve experienced, but also what we haven’t experienced.”

The creation process can be overwhelming sometimes. But maybe, just maybe, if we put the focus on omission, rather than filling up the pages, we can let the most important message shine


I hope this article brought you some inspiration for your creative work.

If you enjoyed it, share the love with your creative palsTo stay updated on future blog posts, subscribe here. 

Related articles, videos and resources:

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Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small percentage of commission via those links, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

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How to Overcome a Creative Block - Based on 10 Quotes from Steal Like an Artist

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