Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting at your desk, fingers hovering mid-air above your keyboard, your latest deadline fast approaching, and [insert chirping crickets]…nothing, nada. Your mind is blank. You have nothing to say, and you don’t even know where to start.
Or, you’re meant to be creating your next work of art, but your brush/pen/chisel/creative weapon of choice lies beside you as your mind desperately scavenges for any signs of creative life.
That, dear reader, is a creative block, and it’s no fun! (But I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that!) This creative block – whether it’s writer’s block for your next work assignment or paralysis in your personal creativity capacity – happens for a variety of reasons, but the result is usually feelings of frustration, desperation, or worse, the dreaded self-doubt.
Be it from an overcrowded schedule, being overtired, family responsibilities, or just life stress, a creative block stops you from accomplishing your tasks and doing what you love. But thankfully, there are some workable solutions to help you break the block! Sometimes, you just need a metaphorical kick in the creatives to help you overcome that block, and get those creative juices gushing out again! And that’s where this post comes in! We’ve got some tried-and-tested strategies to help you kick that creative block to the curb, and get you doing your creative thing once again!
So without further ado (because that pesky creative block has encroached on your time long enough!) let’s jump into today’s post…
8 Top Ways to Overcome a Creative Block
1. Change Your View
This one is simple. If you’ve got no inspiration sitting at your desk, wherever that may be, try moving to another part of the house or office. Just the act of changing your location and your physical view can do some serious shifting in your creative view, and can help get those juices flowing again.
Sometimes, we can become so used to our surroundings, that our thoughts become stagnant and our ideas stale. But physically moving your location and giving yourself a new view can seriously breathe new life into your thoughts. And this can help you reignite your creative fire and fuel your creative juices once again. So the next time a creative block strikes, pick up your things, gather your thoughts, and simply move yourself to another space.
2. Tackle Another Task
Our next strategy to beat the block is to step away from your creative endeavor and tackle another task on your list. A creative block can be totally obliterated by simply turning your attention to something else. The change in focus allows your mind the space to process what you were trying to accomplish, or that thing you were trying to create, and gives it time to get back on track.
But not only that, the sense of accomplishment from getting something else from your list done can be just the boost you need to bust that block wide open and will give your mindset the readjusting it needs to get back to utilizing your creativity in new ways.
3. Go for a Walk
A walk is a tried-and-tested way to clear your head! And this walk can be wherever you feel most inspired. It could be somewhere in nature, with the wind blowing through the trees and all that fresh air filling your lungs and clearing the figurative cobwebs from your brain. But it could also be around your favorite part of your town or city. Somewhere where the hustle and bustle, and all the sites and delicious smells might inspire you.
And this strategy is really a 2-for-1 as the boost of endorphins from that little bit of exercise can do wonders for overcoming your creative block! But remember to take your notebook or sketch pad with you! You never know when inspiration might strike!
4. Try Free-Writing
Free-writing comes highly recommended by those who write for a living. Simply put, freewriting is similar to a brainstorming technique and requires you to continually write, nonstop, for a specified amount of time. Freewriting is a great way to overcome writer’s block, but it’s also a really effective way to get your creativity flowing
An easy way to incorporate this strategy into your routine – and what many creatives do – is to set aside 15 to 20 minutes as you start your day, without any distractions, and just write whatever comes to mind, without overthinking and without stopping. Besides getting in some really great writing practice, you also never know what new and totally innovative ideas you’ll come up!
5. Follow Creative Prompts
Sometimes, it just helps having someone telling you what to create! And prompts are perfect for this! Prompts are suggestions, ideas, or sentences that can be on a particular topic or totally random that have been compiled in a specific order which you use to spark your creativity as you incorporate the idea into your own creative piece. Whether it’s writing, drawing, painting, or poetry prompts you’re after, cyberspace is full of Pinterest posts, blogs, and even Tumblr accounts dedicated to prompts or creative challenges in every creative outlet you can imagine.
By giving you your heading, these prompts can help unlock the block, and your creative confidence back. By using all the weird and wonderful topics suggested to you, you’ll really be flexing your creative muscles and conditioning your skills. You literally never know what you’re going to create! So sign up to the prompt challenges that pique your interest and put the time into following them, and you’ll reap the rewards of seriously amped up creativity, but you’ll also have put in some great practice in honing your craft.
Looking for a place to start? Check out this creative writing prompts challenge created by Grammarly, or this list of challenges specifically for artists.
6. Practice Creativity
I know this sounds very “uncreative” but we so often forget that creativity is a skill, as much as a gift. And a skill is something that requires practice to grow, enhance, and develop. And so an important part of overcoming and preventing a creative block is to get some great, big creative muscles!
Practicing creativity will look a little different for every creative, but a simple way to start is to consistently block out specific times in your weekly schedule where you do something creative. And a pro tip here is to set that time for the time of day when you usually feel the most creative, as this will help you get the ball rolling. Even if you don’t feel particularly creative during your designated slot, stick to the time you’ve scheduled, and then do something! It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece or an epic poetic work. It can be doodles, silly haikus, or even just prepping ideas.
The important part is sticking to the time you’ve scheduled, and exercising your creative muscle. Do this consistently, and you’ll get those creative cogs will turn again, and they’ll keep turning.
Related read: 7 Tips For Creating Great Podcast Content
7. Don’t Panic
Look, I definitely get it! A creative block of any kind can be a real downer, and for those whose work requires creativity, or you’re someone who needs a creative outlet to keep you sane, a lack of inspiration or a block in your artistic flow can be especially difficult.
Not only can these dry creative spells be super discouraging and disheartening, they can also be a little (okay, A LOT) stressful. But stressing about your creativity, or lack thereof, is not going to help the matter one iota! It’s actually just going to make the block a whole lot worse as stress is a definite creativity inhibitor!
Instead, remind yourself that this block is not permanent, and that you will overcome it and feel creative and inspired once again. And then pick another strategy on this list and you’ll be all set!
8. Practice Self-Care
Our last strategy is to develop some healthy self-care habits. And to be kind to yourself! This is such an effective strategy for overcoming a creative block, but we so often forget to implement it! A lack of creative inspiration can make you feel completely overwhelmed, defeated, and even depressed, especially if you rely on your creativity to do your job, or to help you destress, or just to help you process all that’s going on. And we often want to “do” something constructive to help rectify the situation.
But sometimes, one of the best courses of action you can take is to take a step back, and evaluate how you’re doing physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you’re feeling overworked, overtired, or overstressed, these are the likely culprits to your creative drought. And so some self-care should be the perfect remedy!
Try getting some good sleep for a few nights in a row, have some me-time with a relaxing bath, or curl up with your favorite book or podcast for a couple of hours. While this doesn’t sound like it’s doing anything to fix your creative block, by taking some good care of yourself, you’ll find that your mind will feel relaxed and in a much better space to flex your creative muscles again!
Call it writer’s block, creative paralysis, a general lack of inspiration, or whatever you wish, but the bottom line is that there will come times in your life and career where your creative juices hit a definite dry spell. This can be super frustrating, particularly if you rely on your creative muscles to do your job well! But, it’s also personally disheartening and discouraging.
As creatives, we often fear being confronted with these creative blocks, which, ironically, can lead to these blocks in the first place! However, the occasional encounter with writer’s block, or a dry spell in your creativity need not be feared, now that you have the tools to overcome it!
Armed with these 8 strategies, a block in your creativity will never knock you down for long ever again!
Need a little more creative inspiration? Check out this list of our Top Podcasts To Fuel Your Creative Juices!