Got Writer’s/Painter’s/Mathematician’s Block? Local Creative Types Offer Advice for Keeping Up Productivity

Having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolution to write/paint/jam more? These local creative types (ranging from hobbyists to professionals) offer their tips for keeping up productivity, whether it’s using technology to organize thoughts, making the time to create, or informing one’s creative process with inspiration from other art forms. Or heck, sometimes you just need to make something pretty.

Jeff Jimerson, graphic designer, MAC Collective:
“What inspires me? Looking up at tall trees and tall buildings. Looking up at the stars and moon. Looking up to great people: the brave, the creative, the hard-working, the wise, the generous.”




Mike Eskeldson, Director, Rumbanana Salsa Group:
“I start with a song that moves me and listen to it so much that I envision dance elements.  It has everything to do with the music.  I can work three days with no sleep and when the music comes on that’s all she wrote.  I don’t need to worry about anything.”




Randy McCoy, musician/owner, The Little Gym:
“When I feel musically inspired to write a song, I retreat to my office/studio – away from all distractions.   I let my mood guide my exploration on my guitar until what I hear from the guitar matches what I “feel”!  (Oh, and a glass of wine never hurts the process!)”



Johnny Beaver, painter/writer/composer/engineer/owner and operator, “The Lower Rhythm” mix studio/”TLR VST” (audio software development), current president, Temporary Artists’ Guild:

“I have a lot of selfish ambition. I create purely for myself — and when your art or craft goes this route, it becomes as important and necessary to survival as food, shelter or love. You no longer need to worry about things like focus or actualizing potentials. You’re going to do it because you need to.”


Sienna Mattos, baker, First Alternative Co-op/founder, Wildflour Confectionery:
“We are all innately creative with passions and inspirations as diverse as the creators themselves. We should never feel limited by the expression of one art form, use the skills and tools from one area to excel in another. Create more of what you love, explore what moves you.”




Helvi Smith, recycled materials visual artist:
“I delight in using Pinterest. ( I “pin” photos of artworks every night before I go to sleep. I dream of shapes and colors and textures. I am fortunate that I never, never run out of ideas. Or paint….”




Tom Barton (left), graphic novelist/middle school student:
“If my creativity isn’t budging, I just listen to music like “Rhapsody of Fire,” or “Dragonforce.” Then, I wait. What inspires me is mostly other writers or directors or just anything that is drawing, animating, playwriting, writing, directing, anything in those categories.”

Andrew Barton (right), visual artist/high school student:
“In the event that my creative drive is out of reach, I’m probably listening to the wrong kind of music. I need good quality music to draw. In order to write a good story, I need to establish, with songs and art, a good mental atmosphere.”

Ava Betts, elementary student/co-founder of Ava Art greeting cards:
“I just wanted to make something pretty.”








Karen DeWolfe, musician/mountain bike racer/co-founder of Ava Art greeting cards:
“The one thing I need is quiet space…I’ll be riding my bike and hear a great song, and I’ll lose it. I’ve lost many, many, many songs while running and biking. The best is having quiet sitting time–and then having a new medium. Learning something new usually leads to something new coming out of me.”





Neebinnaukzhik Southall, artist/designer/photographer/co-founder of Midnight Muse magazine: “Let yourself play and explore ideas instead of immediately expecting a finished piece. Begin small. Give your brain all kinds of stimuli – both art-related and non-art-related – but don’t overwhelm yourself! Take a walk. Brainstorm mid-nap. Write about your process, especially the frustrations, in order to pinpoint solutions.”






by Mica Habarad

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