What’s Stopping You?

All right, so the question of the day is really a bit more personal. It’s not so much about what’s stopping you as it is about what’s stopping me. This is the third of four questions posed by artist George Durkee in his book Expressive Oil Painting.

He phrases it a bit differently, and it’s based on answers to yesterday’s questionHere is Durkee’s original question:

Is anything blocking this emergence?

I think I’m fortunate in that I don’t really believe in creative blocks. I’ve heard countless aspiring authors lament writer’s block. In the same way, musicians sometimes experience mental blocks. A dancer may struggle with a certain move and feel blocked. In similar fashion, artists speak of frustration and artistic blocks. 

I discovered long ago, though, that blocks don’t have to stop us. To get past a block, we just keep doing what we need to do. Stop worrying about the results. Stop waiting for some mystical muse to bring inspiration. We have all we need inside of us. We just have to do what needs to be done, and the process itself will unlock those doors that appear to be closed. Blocks always crumble when faced with consistent, persistent effort.

Many of you may disagree. Many of you may be ready to tell me that I just don’t understand what it’s like, that blocks are part of the creative process, part of being a writer, a musician, a dancer, an artist.

Think that if you like, but why would you like to think it? Sure, there are times when our creativity may wane, but the surest way to rejuvenate it is by giving it something to play with. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a musician, sing or play. A dancer? Do a few pirouettes. And if you’re an artist, you draw, you paint, you scribble, you design.

Feed your creativity. Give it the fuel it needs.


For those who believe in blocks, I imagine it must be much like a bothersome dragon, always rearing its ugly head at the least opportune moments. It probably blows a lot of smoke and fire. Or maybe it just curls up in a ball and whines.

Either way, that’s not good. Who wants to deal with a difficult dragon?

So feed the fellow. Give him toys to play with. Talk to him. Take him for a walk. You can name him, make a real pet of him, become friends with him. When you do, he won’t bother you with any more of those blocks. 

I smiled when I read Durkee’s question about what might be blocking the emergence of good things in my art, about what might be stopping me or holding me back. I smiled because my answer is nothing.

Nothing at all is standing in my way. Nothing is going to stop me from learning, growing, improving, and discovering new joys through my study of art.

So, now, I’ll bring it back around to you again. What’s stopping you?





  1. For me it comes down to when to draw and when not to draw.

    It took awhile to stick, but I learned that there are times when it is not a good time to draw and when it is a good time to draw.

    Knowing this has really helped me and deciding if I have anything stopping me from doing the work but I love to do.

    If you are able to figure out what works with you in knowing when you are able to do your art and when you are not able to do your art you will find that it makes it easy to keep all of it balance.


    1. I’m learning too that some times it’s best to stay away from drawing and painting. If I’m in a rush or have places to be at a certain time, I can’t do any drawing or painting, even if my appointments are much later in the day. My mind just won’t click into “creative” mode. Same, too, if my husband is doing things around the house. I can paint if he’s sitting quietly in another room, but when he’s moving about he does distract me. And sometimes I start drawing only to realize I have a dozen other things running through my mind. I’ll spend a moment or two trying to relax and clear my head, but if I can’t, I know it’s probably better that I just set drawing aside for another day. I’m fortunate in that my schedule typically allows me to draw and paint several times each week, so that gives me a little flexibility.

      Liked by 1 person

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