How to Beat Creative Block

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, an artist, or a designer; all creatives get creative block and many of us just ride it out. One day you’ll get another great idea. But you have to beat it! Creative block is a mind set and you can’t let it take over or it will consume other areas of your life. So I’ve compiled some of my best remedies for overcoming it.

How to Beat Creative Block

Creative Block Busters You Can Use Right Now

Brainstorming

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it is an incredible (yes, I’m that enthusiastic about it) exercise to get all of your ideas out on the table. If you’re working on a project and you just can’t come up with a good idea, try brainstorming. Get it all out. Write it all down on paper whether it is the best or worst idea you’ve ever had. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes your brain gets foggy because you have so much on your plate that you can’t focus. When you’re finished, take a look at your ideas. Cross out the terrible ones and focus on the good.

Brainstorming is always my go-to approach when I’m stuck because, I have ideas, but they don’t make sense until their on paper. If you’re a visual learner, like most creatives, then this approach will likely work. Don’t shun it…

Get Outside

Getting over creative block can be as easy as changing your surroundings. Take your notepad or your sketchbook and get outside. Being surrounded by nature helps to clear your mind so that you can focus on more important things. Go for a walk, sit on a bench, or go weed your garden. There are some beautiful things in the world and, sometimes those visuals give you the inspiration you are looking for.

Do Something Else

I know, this is the last thing you want to do when you’re frustrated because you can’t come up with that groundbreaking idea. But the more you stress about it, the worse it is going to get. If you go and do something you enjoy, the activity destresses you, and then you can come back to your project with an open mind.

Being stressed really hinders your ability to be productive.  Research has shown that happy people are more creative. You can’t argue with that!

Clean

It sounds ridiculous, I agree, but every time I’m stressed about a project (or anything really) I clean. I think that cleaning is such a mindless activity that it clears your mind and helps to calm you down. That is if you aren’t getting mad that everything is such a mess all the time.

Doodle

Doodling has always been my escape. Just draw something. Anything. It doesn’t even have to be good, and no one else has to see it. Just like brainstorming, doodling helps you get things off of your mind and it helps you focus at the same time. When I was a freelance designer, I worked with a company that encouraged doodling during their morning meetings. They told me they always got better work from their employees throughout the day if they doodled while talking about their goals and projects. Who knew?

Check out these fun projects for some doodle inspiration:
DIY Doodle Bookmarks
Michelle Curiel: The Ultimate Doodler
Doodling on Vinyl Dolls

Creative Block Busters to Work On

Inspiration Boards

Whenever you see something creative, pin it to a inspiration board on Pinterest. It can be anything from photography, to ads, to articles. Having a bank of creative information at your finger tips can be a great fall back. Just browsing other creative work can really boost your spirits and get you back in the mood to make something new.

If you don’t use Pinterest, you could always put together an inspiration book for future reference.

Get Feedback

Talking to other people about your ideas, or lack of, can be a great motivator. Just because your stuck on something doesn’t mean that there’s no one out there who can help you. Even someone who is unfamiliar with your industry can be a big help. You could go find a coworker, ask questions in a forum, or start a conversation on social media. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been inspired to create something from a conversation I had with someone on Twitter or Google Plus. There are some great people out there who are always willing to give you feedback.

Learn Something New

Keep your brain active by continuously learning. Sometimes, creative block stems from lack of exposure. If you ensure that you are learning something new on a regular basis, there is less of a chance of getting stuck. Learning also improves confidence, which never hurts.

Make Time for Y-O-U

Of course, this is easier said than done, but making time for your hobbies helps you to relax. Everyone needs a little me time or they will eventually go crazy. You might love your job, but YOU have to be able to stay creative so YOU are the one you have to take care of. Take half an hour at the end of every night to do something that relaxes you, or just something that makes you happy. Maybe you take a hot bath, read a chapter in a book, or play video games. Just make sure that whatever you’re doing isn’t going to cause you any stress.

Networking

Find a group of creatives in your home town that you can collaborate with. Go to Meetups or other networking events to get in touch with people who enjoy the same things you do. When you are constantly surrounded by creative people, the creative block has to fight its way in.

That’s all I’ve got!

How do you beat creative block? If you have more ideas, leave them in the comments. I would love to hear how you stay creative at work and at home.

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23 thoughts on “How to Beat Creative Block

  1. I take a few minutes and play games on my phone,.. more puzzle or strategy games,… kind of works the left brain for a bit. Gives the right brain a break from creating. It works for me,.. might be the placebo effect though.

    • I believe that could work, Patrick. That is great advice! All creatives should download or play one video game or puzzle game when they’re stressed out. It totally works.

  2. Cleaning does it for me …..as long as I remember to stop and make a note and not get too excited about my cleaning…hahahahah it’s a virgo thing 😉 hugs Fozziemum x

    • Haha I can relate. Cleaning usually helps me out too. Unless, of course, I get stressed because it is so messy. I thought I was the only one that cleaned because of stress. Good to know there are more people like me out there! *HUGS*

  3. Fantastic advice, some I have done and others never really considered. I have heard that the reason cleaning works is it’s representative of clearing out the old to make room for something new

    • Ohh, that is interesting! I never heard that one before. It makes sense though. If you are doing that physically, surely your brain is sorting that out mentally as well. Nice touch.

      Is there anything you have tried that works for you that I didn’t add?

      • hmmmm, not really, I have few things that I go back and redo from time to time such as trees and flowers, if I am at a point where I’m just blocked I’ll just paint a flower or a tree just to kind of get some paint down, some colors going and get my brain leaing in that direction. But I think that falls in line with doodling. Oh and I don’t recall if you mentioned it but I would say not to be afraid to walk away from it for a while or even all together. I just finished a large canvas a few weeks ago where a lady started it but got to a point where she just lost sight of what to do with it and gave up on it… I ended up with it, liked what she had started so I kept it and used it as a background for something else. It turned out great!

      • Oh that’s fantastic! Did you take a picture and share it? Did I miss it?

        Yeah, that is good advice. Taking a break from whatever is stressing you out can be a great reliever. You always come back with an open mind.

      • I do have a picture and it ahs not posted yet. Everything posted so far is stuff from 6-9 months ago… I do that intentionally so I always have something to post every Sunday. So, let’s see I did that a few weeks ago, it’ll probably be about December before it makes it to a post on here lol

  4. Wow. This is awesome. Perfect timing. I actually almost wrote a post asking for ideas. About once a year I have extreme writer’s block and I work full time as a writer (inconvenient). This year it was for almost 6 weeks straight. Totally agree with learning something new and just doing something else. I also stand on my head (headstands and such). Being upside down gives me a new perspective and I guess causes blood to rush to my brain.

    • Oh 6 months?! That’s a long time and yes, very inconvenient. I’ve never tried the headstands. I will have to do that. Great advice!

  5. Pingback: Where to Find Creative Inspiration on the Web | Make Something Mondays!

  6. Pingback: Why You Should Draw Even If You Don’t Think You Can | Make Something Mondays!

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