From the great impressionist Claude Monet to iconic poet Sylvia Plath, almost every individual in a creative field has experienced a ‘creative block’ in their career. A creative block can be a period of dormant activity or a lack of inspiration for artists and designers. While there can be many reasons for someone to experience a creative block, most of the time this may be caused by the fear of failure, negative criticism, feeling that your work is not good enough, or could even be an after-effect of maybe the loss of a loved one. A creative block is a temporary state of mind but sometimes can affect a person so much that it could lead to anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms. Anyhow, there are many ways one can attempt to come out of this state. Based on my personal experiences and advice from some of the greatest artists, writers, and designers, here is a list of ways you can get rid of a creative block –
1. Declutter and clean your surroundings
Decluttered and clean surroundings increase productivity, reduce anxiety, and improves your state-of-mind. With a fresh and soothing ambiance, you’ll have a fresh mind and renewed perspective on whatever project it is that you’re working on. On advice on how to declutter up your room and in turn your mind, one can always look up to master organizer and tidying expert Marie Kondo.
2. Seek adventure and new experiences
Sometimes doing things that are out of the ordinary for us can help us look at the world through a different lens. This could include traveling and exploring new places or doing some adventure sport that has always been on your bucket list. The idea basically is to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself in a challenging situation. New and unique experiences can spark inspiration and promote creative thought.
3. Go offline
Consuming too much content from the internet can hinder the growth of our own original ideas. What we see online can become overwhelming at times and make us doubt our own work. It’s important for us to take a step back from social media so that we have the time and space to unwind our minds and think about how we personally want to approach a project. You cannot expect yourself to birth a unique idea when your mind is clouded by the works of other people.
4. Indulge in self-care
Practicing self-care and self-love is an essential tool for any individual even if you’re not in a creative career path. Self-care can be physical or emotional as well. Physical self-care can be in the form of exercise, dancing for fun, skincare routines or yoga, etc. Learning to be comfortable in your own company is very important. Emotional self-care can include listening to music, meditation, spending time with your own thoughts, and doing things that bring you peace of mind and create positive mental health.
5. Talking to other artists and designers –
Seek advice from experts, teachers, peers, and seniors at the workplace. Surround yourself with positive people that will motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Look for advice from experts online through TED Talks or blogs. Having healthy and interesting conversations with other people and asking for their advice on how to begin a project and give you an outsider’s insight into your work. Not just advice but sometimes even criticism of your work can help you push your boundaries and improve your work.
6. Take things one step at a time –
Sometimes we take on more work or duties than we can accomplish or feel overwhelmed with the magnitude of our work. When this happens, remember to take things one step at a time. Organize, shuffle, and set your priorities. This will help ease the load on your mind and eventually you will be able to finish all your tasks and the bigger picture will be complete.
7. Pen-down all your thoughts
There are days when we find ourselves completely out of ideas or in lack of inspiration but there are also days when we find inspiration everywhere around us and feel our creative juices flowing. To be prepared for those days it is best to carry a journal or sketch pad with you always. You never know when an idea can strike you so pen down your thoughts through words or sketches. This way, on days that you feel you have a creative block, you can always glance through your journal and take ideas from there.
8. Push yourself
While some people need a relaxed and soothing environment to work well, others work better under pressure. Give yourself deadlines and goals to keep you on your toes. You can also promise yourself some rewards at the end of completing each task or assignment. This works best for people who need an end goal or deadline to just sit down and work.
9. Kinaesthetic learning
Kinaesthetic learning is a tried and tested educational concept which basically means learning through movement. Instead of learning through lectures or notes which can get monotonous, moving around or performing an activity helps students learn better. This same concept can be applied when having a creative block. Sometimes reading or watching videos or even writing down your ideas doesn’t work for people, at such times kinaesthetic learning can be a helpful tool. Performing certain tasks related to your project/job or indulging in games and fun activities can give you ideas. Basically, mixing work with play can open up your mind.
10. Sleep and Hydration
Last but most definitely not the least is getting enough rest and keeping yourself hydrated. Drinking enough water can improve your brain’s function and cognition and can even elevate your mood. Sometimes, all we can do is let it go, sleep on it, and tackle the problem when we are well-rested.