‘I’m no longer motivated to make art. How do I go back to my passion?’

“I first thought it was an art block, but it’s been two years now and it hurts me so much,” says a demotivated artist

Hello Haya,

I am an artist and have been painting and drawing since I was a little kid. I have always found peace in art, and it not only makes me feel good but also works as therapy. There were days when I would spend hours locked in a room and just paint and sometimes, I would make more than one painting in just a day.

However, in the last two years, I am unable to draw anything at all. Even though I watch inspirational videos/artworks, I just cannot draw. I first thought it was an art block, but it’s been two years now and it hurts me so much because the one thing that helped me in every way is not a part of my life anymore.

I try to pick up the brush and try to paint but I just can’t, I don’t know what happens, but I just stop. Please help me understand how to get back to my passion again like I used to.

— A worried artist

Dear worried artist,

I appreciate your openness in sharing your experiences with me. It is quite evident that art has played a significant role in your life, providing you peace and fulfillment, and the current blockage you are facing is causing you distress.

When it comes to understanding creative blocks, they’re could be several deeper (internal/external) underlying factors at play beyond than what meets the eye. It could be changes in life circumstances, perfectionism, fear of failure, emotional struggles, transition, routine, unresolved traumas, or subconscious beliefs you may be holding on to name a few, which would need to be further explored on an individual level to see what’s going on for you.

Exploring these potential factors in a safe and supportive environment could help shed light on what’s been holding you back.

What I sense from the above script is that when you would previously paint, it was free flowing, with no pressure and expectations from yourself or from the outcome. From what you are expressing now, it sounds like you are holding on to expectations and self-pressure to produce an outcome which seems to be disturbing the natural flow of your creative juices from flowing.

I also sense that you hold on to some unhelpful language. “I cannot draw”.

Our language creates our beliefs and the way we feel about ourselves. Perhaps avoid saying “I cannot draw” and reframe your language to “I am unable to draw now”, as it might be more helpful and accurate. The language you will use with yourself will influence the relationship you have with yourself and is a key factor in influencing a progressive or regressive mindset.

Perhaps there could also be something more within that you are not paying attention to, that may be unresolved. Getting curious in uncovering (preferably with the aid of a therapist), could be helpful.

The creative process is a journey, and every step, even the challenging ones, contributes to your growth as an artist.

In conclusion, I would encourage you that rather than putting pressure on yourself to immediately regain your previous output, consider approaching art with a sense of self-compassion and patience.

Allow yourself to explore without the expectation of perfection or immediate results with openness and curiosity. Putting pressure on yourself to regain your previous level of artistic output may intensify feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Allow yourself to embrace where you are in life currently, to practice less judgment, more observation and acceptance.

Wishing you healing!


Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.

Send her your questions to [email protected]

Note: The advice and opinions above are those of the author and specific to the query. We strongly recommend our readers consult relevant experts or professionals for personalised advice and solutions. The author and Geo.tv do not assume any responsibility for the consequences of actions taken based on the information provided herein. All published pieces are subject to editing to enhance grammar and clarity.

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