When I get bummed out, I use crayons.

Crayons, film still from Shoplifters (2018)

I’ll admit. I got really bummed out the other day.


How long does it take to get “there”?  Why can’t I, as a filmmaker, get that one person who can make a difference to say “I WILL HELP YOU” and “YOU CAN COUNT ON ME”.

The more I let myself dip into a feeling of despair, I notice a wave of stagnation seeping over me. I start to feel a cold sea of darkness around me… and my dreams of making art begin to drown.

I wonder if anyone else feels that way. Am I alone in this experience? Does anyone relate?


Of course, we all feel that way.  We all get bummed out from time to time.

We feel the disappointment or frustration so deeply because we LOVE and CARE so much about the thing we want to achieve. It just gets us down because we want it badly, but can’t quite get it to happen they way we want (or on the timeline we want.)


When I’m bummed, I (re)learn every single time that I can get myself out of  that stuck place. I just have to remind myself that I lost touch for a moment with my CREATIVITY.

When I’m in a creative space, I feel alive and excited and able to connect with others. I feel no boundaries, only waves of inspirations. I feel eager to learn something new and try something daring or fun.

But getting out of the stagnant and into the creative isn’t always easy.


The irony is that the little teeny tiny things can get us out of the big slump.

Here’s one small thing I do when I catch myself in a slump.

I make myself a hot chocolate, something I love. Then I pull out a blank sheet of paper, grab crayons and doodle with my imagination. I just allow my enjoyment of little things to drift back.


Reflect on these questions as you let the crayon doodling begin.

  • What does my dream project/career look like?
  • What am I doing on a daily basis in this dream career? Where am I?
  • Who am I working with?
  • How is my success measured?
  • What am I wearing to a celebration party about something that I’ve accomplished?


This weekend, when I did this child-like exercise with crayons, without a goal in mind, just doodling and asking questions, I suddenly came up with some fun ideas to generate! As an artist and as a teacher.

Being in that creative, playful mind allows new thinking about how to move past obstacles. How to break old patterns and limiting beliefs.

Now, instead of feeling stagnant without hope or direction, I have new ideas bubbling inside of me. (I’m even beta testing a fresh class idea this week at The New School!). I feel on track again. Being creative. Generating my ideas.


When bummed out, we sit on our bums. So, we must do everything we can to nurture our creative spirits in the face of being bummed out.

Grab a box of crayons or take a walk outside and smell the dropping leaves. Make a goofy video on your phone and stir a cup of hot chocolate. Embrace the small things that inspire and rejuvenate and get your creative juices flowing.


Keep playing with your dreams, nurturing that creative and open self, so that we can swim above the seas of despair.

Your crayon pal,

P.S. – Markers, pencils, iPad sketch apps, Pinterest, they all work too. No excuse to not PLAY with your dreams!


Comment below and tell us how you push yourself forward when bummed out!


Still: SHOPLIFTERS (2018)


  1. Jean Ann says

    Love this idea!! Never thought about crayons before but I’m going to add it to my bag of creativity tricks. The biggest help for me is music. It completely inspires me & reminds why I’m here. So when all else fails, I put my headphones on and have a dance party in my bedroom. 🙂

    PS I already have my festival premiere party dress picked out (and we haven’t started shooting yet)!

  2. Polly says

    I love this, Heidi! I think it is no coincidence that so many of my friends are fellow actors. When I feel defeated, they are the first port of call. Mixing and talking to people who “get” us is so important. Also these are the people who have seen our work and our talent so are able to boost us and prompt us to remember the reasons why we stick with it and love it, even when the going gets tough!
    P.S. You have inspired me for my blog about my new accountability groups with The Actor’s Friend! 😉
    Thanks, Heidi.

  3. Lisann says

    I love this!!! I always think about what I’ll weat, trying to project that into my reality. But drawing it with crayons.. Mind-Blown! What a fun & cathartic way to play. Great idea Heidi!!

  4. Emily says

    I am so grateful to read this today. I love the idea of doodling in crayons, and will have to add this to my “inspire-me” activities.

    I recently started writing out a two-category list: What have I gained? What would I like to gain? When I look back over the “what have I gained” portion, it really does motivate me. No matter how minor, there’s always something there! Then, when I write out my hopes/goals, I stay away from language of absolutes such as “I must!” or “I have to!”. That minor shift in language has been surprisingly beneficial!

    My favorite mantra: At the end of every breakdown is a breakthrough..

    Thank you Heidi! Can’t wait to get up to Part Two soon!!

  5. Mara says

    Hi Heidi, Great timing on this blog topic. The whole cycle of ‘mother earth’ winding down and going to sleep puts us all in a reflective mood. It’s only natural that we feel bummed every now and then; especially when things are not going according to ‘our’ timeline. Best thing I do when I feel this way is to swim and then sit at the piano and play random notes. Ironically enough, I end up finding my way back to the Duende (Divine Inspiration). But, admittedly as creatives we must always battle the dark sun that sometimes clouds our vision. Remember, “even when it’s raining the sun is still shining.” -unk

    • Shana Gold says

      Love this Heidi. So important to put your attention (after a sufficient mourning period 😉 on what you want to manifest, rather than your disappointments and worries–concentrate on what you want instead of what you don’t want or didn’t get. I like a collage vision board since my drawing skills are comical. Julia Cameron suggests Artist Dates where you take yourself out to something that inspires you, a concert, a walk in nature, dance class, stroll through a new neighborhood– really works for me…

  6. Karina Richardson says

    I love the idea of using crayons because they make big fat waxy imprecise lines instead of the razor sharp inky lines I hammer down at my day job. I always wanted one of those big crayon boxes that took blue and made it cerulean and now I have a fantastic reason to get one!

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