Every job requires some creativity, because every job requires some never-been-done-before thinking. When you’re coming up with new solutions and directions, you’re thinking creatively.
The downside to that is that you’re also at risk for creative blocks.
It happens. Sometimes, answers and ideas don’t flow as quickly as they usually do. Maybe you’re tired or overworked; maybe you’re distracted by other stresses and pressures in your life. Maybe there’s no real reason at all. But one thing’s for sure – creative blocks are frustrating.
We’re no stranger to creative blocks, and we know how quickly they can get you down. There’s no act-fast, one-size-fits-all solution, but we’ve assembled a few of our fall-backs when we’re feeling blocked.
1. Accept the fact that there’s a block. Sometimes, half the battle is acknowledging that there is a battle. Creative blocks are a common problem, so there’s no sense pretending that it’s not an issue. Don’t ignore it. Once you accept it for what it is, you’ll be able to start working through it.
2. Remember that it’s not permanent. A lot of the frustration from a creative block comes from an indefinite timeline. You really have no idea how long it’ll take before it clears. Despite that, it’s never permanent. So, rest assured, ideas will come easily again. This next portion will just take a bit of patience.
3. Take care of the rest of the list. While you may be struggling with one particular portion of a project, there are other items on your list. Focus on those for a little while. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you check things off, and the work won’t pile up. It’s a great way to keep some momentum while the other portion is stalled.
4. Take a break. As you’re working through a creative block, it’s okay to walk away from it every once in a while. Spend some time doing things that you enjoy, and things that help your creative process. That’s why I always work with headphones and blank paper nearby. If I’m struggling with a creative block, a good song or a couple minutes of doodling tend to help. If not, I get outside. Fresh air and a little exercise will often give my brain a bit of a kick-start. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s reading or gaming or spending time with family. Regardless, give your brain a break.
5. Look for other ideas. We’re often inspired by other people. So, if you’re particularly stuck on one problem, go looking for people who have faced it themselves. See what they did to address the issue. You may not decide to use the same solution, but it’s good to at least examine what other people have tried.
6. Keep trying. This is likely the most important part of facing a creative block. It might be tempting to sit back and wait for a creative block to go away on its own, but this often hinders the process even further. Take breaks, yes, but keep coming back to it. The problem won’t solve itself. You may have to try a few different approaches before you’re satisfied with the results, but that’s the only way to get through. And think of how amazing it’ll feel when you finally overcome that block! Worth it. Worth it every time.
These are just a handful of tips for getting past a creative block; we know there are plenty more out there. Do you have any methods that work well? We’d love to add them to our repertoire!