What are the benefits of art journaling? Why should you art journal? Is it just another one of those trends? What if I told you art journaling on a regular basis can break down creative blocks, inspire you to keep trying, diminish the perfectionist gremlin, fight resistance, conquer fear, and boost your productivity. Sound like too much? No way. The benefits of art journaling will do more for you than any self-help book ever could. Because art journaling can take on so many different forms, it helps any type of creative: writers, musicians, artist, actors, bloggers, and even those who don’t know or believe they are creative.
Because art journaling can take on so many different forms, it helps all creatives. (<<< click to tweet)
Goodbye to Creative Blocks
You can’t come up with any new blog topics. You’re stuck in the middle of a story and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t figure out where to go next. You haven’t auditioned for a new role in months (years?). Your guitar is collecting dust and you’re not sure it’s worth starting up again. When Einstein was stuck, he’d played the violin. He wouldn’t sit on his hands or mop around feeling sorry for himself. One area of creativity was blocked? No problem. He’d engage in another creative activity.
When creative say they’re blocked, usually they mean they don’t know where to go from here. It’s like the path just suddenly vanished and they’re too scared to step into the unknown. But one of the worst things you can do when you are stuck is to give up on creativity. Instead, participate in another creative field: art journal. If you’re a writer, then paint, draw, splash color on a page with your fingers. If you usually work with paints, write. Use words and quotes to express yourself.
I guarantee you will never suffer from creative block as long as you do one creative thing each day. If you are having difficult accessing one creative area, move onto another and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get back to that first activity.
Resistance and Fear
The two worst offenders for blocking a creative are resistance and fear. Resistance is persistent. He shows up every day…You’re all set to write a new blog post and “suddenly” get a headache. Now you can’t work. You’ve laid out all your art supplies when your best friend calls and you just have to go help her. The house needs cleaned, errands need run, you’re too tired from work this week…I could keep going, but I think you’ve got the gist of Resistance: He does whatever he can to distract you from creating.
Then there’s Fear—Resistance’s less-subtle twin. Maybe you’re afraid of failure, afraid of success, or afraid of being judged and criticized. Fear can stop us in our tracks like no other. He’s bold, he’s loud, and he’s in your face telling you to keep those creative tools hidden. You’ll never amount to anything. You don’t know what you’re doing. You really want to embark on a journey of self-discovery? What if reality is too tough to handle? Nah, let’s forget about creating and watch, T. V., okay? T. V. is safe…
HOW CAN ART JOURNALING HELP?
Like a traditional journal, art journals are 100% for your eyes only (unless you want to share). They are personal, they are all about you, and there is no one in the audience. The stage is yours. What do you want to do with it? Establishing a habit of art journaling, even if it is only for ten minutes a day, will help you overcome resistance becauseyou’ll learn that it doesn’t matter if there are dishes to be done or if you’re tired, you can play with your journal for ten minutes. You do it every day. Today is no different. Likewise, the fear starts to ebb away as you art journal regularly. Draw or write about your fears. Find those roots and yank them out. Just by showing up and creating every day, you’re tell fear: “You’re not my problem anymore. I’m moving on with or without you, but I’m moving nonetheless.”
Say No to the Perfectionist Gremlin
Ah, perfectionism…every creative’s nemesis. The perfectionist gremlin is a tough little guy to get rid of. He’s just so clingy. Who knew something so small could have such strong fingers? Perfectionism is really just fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being made fun of. Fear of not making enough money. Fear of public critic and humiliation. Fear of rejection.
“If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all…” Have you ever heard yourself say/think those words? What’s the point of trying if you’re just going to “fail?”
But that’s NOT what art journaling is about. Art journaling is about a LACK of perfection. As much as art journaling is, the one thing it is not, is perfect. Art journals are supposed to be messy. You’re supposed to make mistakes. You should have pages that look like a three-year-old created them. You’re not hanging your art journal work in a museum (heck, you probably wouldn’t even hang it in your home): THAT’S OKAY! Really, cross my heart. Art journals should be imperfect, which is why they are ideal for anyone who has a nasty little perfectionist gremlin on their back. The gremlin has no power when you art journal because you never sought out to be perfect anyway. You’re having fun, you’re creating. That’s what matters.
And as you slowly pry off the gremlin’s fingers from around your neck and shoulders while art journaling, you’ll find your fear of perfectionism will diminish in other areas of your life as well.
You know that oh-so-overused quote, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, all work and no play does more than make you dull. Overworked people are more likely to experience burnout, anxiety, stress, depression, and poor health. Do you know what all of this does to your productivity? Yup. It kills it. It doesn’t matter if you spend all day standing behind a counter, sitting at a computer, or rebuilding roofs—if you don’t give yourself play time/ free time/ (insert our choice of words here), your productivity is going to go down, down, down, gone.
Playing with your art journal—allowing yourself the freedom to have fun and experiment with art—will boost your productivity in the long run. Creative breaks don’t make you lazy or selfish: they make you smarter. You’re smart enough to know your brain needs a break from work. It needs a refresh. It needs a new perspective. It needs some downtime. Don’t believe me? Try it for a couple of weeks. Art journal every evening after work for two weeks and watch the difference it makes. I double-dog dare you.
Have you started art journaling yet? If so, what’s the one thing art journaling has done for you? And if not, are you willing to give art journaling a try?