What to do When You Feel Discouraged About Your Art

by Erik Peterson

You are not alone in this thing called discouragement, 

Or frustration, or confusion, and doubt about your creative endeavors.

We are artists, so we must know 

That this is part of the journey. Part of being in the club.

But still, how long do you want to sit in the mud? 

It doesn’t need to last too long.

Shall we not suffer alone?

Shall we find the way back to our creative life together?


All it takes is just a little movement.  

A tiny effort that gets the ball rolling.

This momentum can make all the difference.

Don't think of your smallest effort as being beneath you.

It’s not.

It’s the very thing that will propel you to great heights.  

It will immediately give you that good feeling

Of freedom.


You’ve felt your own version of this (and you’ve simply forgotten it.)

It’s time to remember, reimagine and rediscover.

Thank God for these small graces that are always present,

Hundreds and even thousands of times a day.


Take this new or remembered step of freedom. 

Maybe that could be a long-overdue sigh. Cracking into a rebellious smile. 

Do you want to laugh at your serious overburdened self? 

You might protest, “Of course not!” and “That’s irresponsible!”

But… wouldn’t it also be fun? 


I wonder, what might you delight to do?

Something so small it’s giggling and waiting for you to join in this tiny dance.

Is it opening the blank page?  

Setting your timer for 10 minutes and sitting down to create?

Sketching out a vision for your project? 

So easy, so enjoyable

And yet so powerful.


Remember that you are safe and you are loved

When you are in the heights of artistic ecstasy or the valley of creative despair

And everywhere in between.


You are also creative, inspired, capable and skilled.

Thank you, Jesus! 




And in case you forgot,

Let this prayer poem move through you

Into the next grace-filled step you want to take, 

A gift just for yourself.

I am smiling and celebrating with you,

Knowing how good that feels.