There’s something about the creative brainstorm process that requires you to be in a certain frame of mind, to feel inspired and focused so that you can create your best work. It’s especially frustrating when you’re moving along, trying to be your creative self–and, suddenly, nothing feels right. You’re struggling with a creative block.
A creative block is the last thing you need when your whole job is built on being inventive! But no worries, move on! Here are some tips from professional designers and famous artists on how to overcome the creative block and stay inspired.
It is different for everyone. When a creative block strikes, try some of these tips and see what sticks: get inspired by others around you… artists and creatives; do something completely different; try another approach to your work; or just take a break.
1. Try a digital break Walk away from the computer and draw. As a designer in the digital age we create most of our work digitally. But sometimes all you need to do is get back to basics. The act of drawing with an actual pen (or pencil or even paint) on actual paper will make you look at things differently and will give you a whole new perspective on whatever you’re working on.
2. You can’t force creativity. If nothing seems to be working, don’t force it. Forcing ourselves to ‘be creative’ is pointless. Everyone loses steam sometimes. It’s ok to walk away and try again later on, after you’ve given your brain a break. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what happens after a little recharge time. Do something else and maybe let the ideas float in the back of your head until you’re ready to make the work for real.
3. Find new sources of inspiration. Do something completely out of your comfort zone. Inspiration is everywhere. Looking at other designer’s work can be incredibly inspiring. You might learn something new while getting rid of your creative block.Inspiration can be found anywhere, not just in the visual arts. When in doubt, immerse yourself in a cultural experience outside of your work: go to a movie, a play or a concert. This is an opportunity to awaken your senses.
4. Take on a boring task. Go wash dishes! Whether it’s cleaning the house, going for a walk or sometimes you just need to do something to clear your head. A simple, methodical task is exactly what you need to give your mind a break and reboot.
5. Allow yourself to fail. Are you holding yourself back because you’re afraid your work won’t be good enough? It’s time to shake off your worries and push through. Taking risks will help you sharpen your skills. You may find yourself creating work you never dreamed possible. It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes is how we learn and challenge our creativity.
6. Take care of yourself Listen to your body. If you’re finding yourself tense with pressure, give yourself permission to abandon your struggle. Breathe, eat a snack, or do something else. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes taking care of yourself is all you need to recharge and trigger a breakthrough.
7. Break it down into manageable chunks. Sometimes a project or task can seem so big and overwhelming that we lose track of what really matters and we get stuck. Time to take a step back. Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. You can tackle them one at a time and the big picture will come together bit by bit.While pressure may not always be the solution, sometimes it’s just what you need to get over a creative slump. If there’s one thing that can get your adrenaline pumping, it’s a hard deadline.
8. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries Is it possible that you’re putting up your own creative barriers out of fear of pushing your skills?Creativity takes courage. Perhaps your creative block means that deep down you’re afraid to take the next step and do something new and different. It takes guts to be truly creative and put new ideas out there. Figure out what it is that you’re afraid of. What holds you back? Once you overcome that fear, you’ll overcome creative block.
Creative block happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. With a little advice from the pros, you’ll be back on track in no time. Whenever your creativity hits a snag, go through this list of tips from expert designers and famous artists on overcoming that mental blockage.
Working in advertising throughout my life has led me down this path. My team makes brands stand out and helps companies move the needle on the bottom line.