The Creative Block and 5 Ways to Vanquish It

By chris | Tue, 12/23/2014 - 17:00

All creative professionals face the dreaded ‘creative block’. It happens to the best of us, it's one of those unavoidable forces in life. Don't worry, there are things we can do to deal with it when it does rear its ugly head. Creative block is a bully, but our Kung-fu is strong.

Here are 5 things you can do to help get through the block:

1. Look Elsewhere

We often get trapped in 'the box'. We do things the same way all the time. We rely too much on a toolbox of reusable solutions. This habit can sometimes bring about a creative block or 'stall'.

So what can we do?

We can look to our peers or leaders in our industry for ideas. It's often our stubbornness that keeps us in the same rut.  What other people are doing can inspire us and can be useful in making us look at something in a whole new way.

2. Do Something Else

Do you design interfaces all day long? Logos?

Try doing something different like writing a poem, sketching, or painting. Working in these other mediums may be completely foreign to us or at least make us uncomfortable, but that is okay. The answers are in the discomfort.

3. Face Your Fears

Fear is a huge factor in creative block. There is a certain emotional investment in any creative pursuit. Fear of criticism, or failure can stop us before we even start. The blank page is safe... but it's just that - blank. The page wants to be written or drawn on, that is its sole purpose in life. You have to make that first mark, or write that first sentence. Face that fear head on. Get it started or you will never finish it.

4. Do the Opposite

Sometimes there is a solution in going a completely different direction, maybe even one that is outrageous. You may not even use the new idea in the end, but going down that road can open new pathways you would never would have seen going in the original direction.

5. Step Away

If you are not under the crushing weight of an upcoming deadline, you might want to just step away from the project. Give it time to germinate. We can stare at something too long, and end up losing site of the forest through all the trees.

Stepping away in a physical sense is also a good idea. Get up and take a walk, go for a drive or somehow change venues. Being somewhere other than your usual work space can spark new ideas.

In conclusion

There are many more ways to defeat creative block, but these 5 are ones that work for me. How about you? Do you have some sure-fire ways to break through the block?


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