Creative blocks. A mental demon all creative people deal with from time to time. While we all wish we could aggressively punch the block out of our heads and move on, we physically cannot. But what we can do is find tips and tricks that can push us to clear our minds and find the creativity we need. So let’s dive into a few creative block solutions.
Why am I Having a Creative Block?
Creative blocks come from a number of different sources. Sometimes, it could be from overworking, from being stressed out, or from your environment.
The Problem with Overworking and How to Fix it.
If you ever feel like you’ve been working on something for over 4 hours non stop, just relax, my friend. No need to lose your sanity over your work (unless your sanity has already left the building. Then I guess, work away). When our brains spend too much time focusing on one thing, it puts so much strain on our minds. It’s like leaving a car engine running for too long. Eventually, you’ll run out of fuel. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to run out of fuel.
Tips for Overworking.
Here’s a tip for overworking. Don’t do it. Sometimes, it feels like everything needs to be done as soon as possible and that there’s no time to stop. But what’s the point of completing your work if the content isn’t at its best? When we have creative blocks from overworking and you don’t give yourself some breaks, it won’t make you work faster, it actually does the opposite. Your mind becomes filled to the max and is too exhausted to come up with anything creative. Once the creative juices have dried out and you’re looking for a creative block solution, here’s a few things you can do to refresh your mind:
- Leave the house and go for a walk
- Watch a movie or read a book
- Talk to a friend or family member
- Get something to eat (If you hate cooking, like I do, then maybe just order some fast food)
- Leave what you’re stuck on for the next morning. Maybe your subconscious mind will give you the perfect solution to your problem.
The Pomodoro Technique
Another great way to keep yourself from overworking is to use the Pomodoro Technique. Now, you’re probably wondering:
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
Well you see, oh stressed one, the Pomodoro Technique was invented in the late 80s’ by a university student struggling to concentrate. The technique encourages people to work in intervals with several breaks and as a result, it gives their minds a little refresher before continuing their work.
How it Works.
- Get a to-do list and a timer.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes and start your task.
- Once the timer goes off, mark off one pomodoro and write down what you completed.
- Have a 5-minute break.
- After four pomodoros, push that break to 15-30 minute instead of 5.
Working for shorter periods of time helps with avoiding the habit of overworking and therefore, minimizes the chances of creative blocks.
How Does Stress Affect Creative Blocks?
Are you overwhelmed by certain events in your life? Maybe you have something personal going on that’s keeping you from being creative. The stress of external problems can play a huge role in creative blocks. Your mind is being occupied with something else and is basically saying to you, “What makes you think I can even think of building a strategy while this other problem hasn’t been solved yet?”
Tips for Reducing Stress and Relieving Creative Blocks.
- Try and fix the problem. For example, let’s say someone really upset you. Go talk to them and explain how you’re feeling and try to solve the problem. A weight will lift right off your shoulders.
- Journaling. If you don’t want to confront the problem, just write about it in a journal. Don’t underestimate the power of journaling. Your body just wants to let go of everything you’re thinking about. Putting it on paper can feel like you released all your negative emotions.
- Use your emotions as a tool for your work. If you can’t fix the problem, use it! Really get into the details of what you’re feeling and maybe it will trigger something in your mind that inspires the work you’re doing. Creativity doesn’t always come from rainbows and sunshine.
Is my Workspace Contributing to my Creative Block?
Lastly, Your environment is very important when it comes to creativity. If your workspace is very cluttered and messy, it makes it very hard to concentrate. Your mind will reflect the clutter in the room. And there you have it. Another damn creative block. This creative block solution requires you to ensure that the space is clean and matches the mindset you want to have when you work on your project.
Emma K.'s Solution
“Sometimes I take a five min break and refresh my mind, sometimes I go for a walk, maybe listen to different types of music. It all depends on how I’m feeling at the moment.”
Emma L's Solution
“I usually take a break. A creative block for me usually means I’ve been working on it for too long. So, I take a step back and do something else, either another work project or just get another cup of coffee. If I have a day, I’ll save that project for the next day. Usually fresh eyes help deconstruct a creative block. If time’s not on my side, I’ll ask someone their opinion and usually find a breakthrough that way.
Also, I’ll do more research and find inspiration that way. It really comes down to what problem I’m trying to solve.”
“When designing websites, logos and other graphic elements, I often get creative blocks. One easy solution is to cycle between a few projects. Never get too focused on one design, take a break, work on something else and then you can come back to the project with a fresh perspective later.”
“When I have a creative block, what I like to do is find inspiration in other ways whether that be through mood boards on pinterest, magazines or looking at other designs such as websites, social media etc. If I find that I’m spending more than 15 minutes sitting there in a rut and can’t figure out what to do, I’ll go to my designer group chat with other designers and get some insight from other creative minds and that usually helps a ton!”
Don't be Discouraged!
Creative blocks can be really frustrating. Trust me, I go through one at least once a month. It’s important to know what to do and what to change. A change of scenery, change in routine, and even a change somewhere in your personal life. One thing to always remember is that these blocks are normal and will pass. Once you go through it, you’ll find that “ah-ha” moment and come up with the best ideas. You just need to find what creative block solution works for you. Now go on. Time to get your creative juices flowing!