1. Change your surroundings:
Sometimes just changing your surroundings can be the right course of action when experiencing a creative block. If you normally work in an office, try a table in another room. If the air smells bad get an air purifier. If the weather is nice then work outside. If a computer is the usual weapon of choice, then use a pen and paper. Change up any of the usual habits and see if that can get the creative juices flowing once more.
Brainstorming is a creativity technique used to find a solution for a problem by making a list of spontaneous ideas. This list can be created individually or with a group. The term brainstorming was made popular by Alex Faickney Osborn in the book Applied Imagination. If brainstorming feels like the way to go, start by listing all things related to the topic, regardless of how silly or crazy they may seem. Once there are some items on paper it will be easier to take a step back and research each decision one by one.
Once you find yourself at a point where creativity has been thoroughly blocked then take a break and get some exercise. The creative process springs as much from the subconscious as it does from a conscious thought process. Most often, creative solutions are not wrestled from your mind through sheer force of will. Eureka moments tend to occur spontaneously, almost always when the conscious mind is thinking of something else, or nothing at all. Exercising is a good mechanism for clearing the mind of excess noise and can free up some of those eureka ideas hiding in your subconscious. Plus, exercising is good for you and chances are that you are not getting enough anyway.
4. Do something Boring:
Doing something mundane or boring can be a very good trick for unblocking your creativity. While performing tasks that are much less demanding on the brain it will give the mind an opportunity to relax and allow you to day dream. Cleaning or mowing the lawn would be a good example of one of these tasks. These types of chores have been done so often that they can nearly be done blind folder and will give the mind ample opportunity to wander. If that “ah-ha” moment does come, quickly write it down. A half mowed lawn is not the end of the world.
5. Go offline:
Creative block can strike people for two main reasons. The first being that there is not actually an idea yet. Everything else can be there; a pen, paper, desk, computer, guidelines, even a deadline, but the idea is nowhere in sight. The second reason behind the creative block is that after the great idea has shown itself the realization of the amount of work required to bring this idea to fruition has firmly taken hold. Work is not fun, has never been fun, and will never be fun. This simple fact will help to continually derail projects unless you are able to avoid distractions that are more fun and right at your fingertips. Stay offline and stop wasting time.
6. Stop fearing criticism:
Unless you do not care at all about the work you are doing, one of the most difficult things to deal with is criticism of you work. Constructive criticism is not meant to be taken personally, but when you work extremely hard on a project it can make the criticism difficult to hear and even cause fear when turning work in to superiors. One very important thing to remember about criticism though is that so long as it is constructive it will only make the finished product better.
7. Push through:
There may come a time when the only way to get past a creative block is to just push through. There will probably be a situation when none of the tips listed above have been helpful and the project is gridlocked. When you find yourself in this situation, just continue to move forward. You might discover that once you have gotten beyond a certain point that things will progress more easily and the creative block has been alleviated. Once progress is being made more easily then go back and check the work. If you find that it is not up to par it can probably be corrected without much effort now that the creative juices are flowing again.
Creative blocks are always a personal thing that can affect anyone at virtually anytime, usually that most inconvenient time. There is no cure-all tip or course of action that a person can take to overcome such blocks. However, when the time comes and you find yourself grasping at straws trying to figure out how to get past your latest experience with a creative block maybe you will find some of these tips useful. Maybe just taking the time to read this article was enough of a break for your mind to regroup and is now ready to rejoin the creative battle. However, if that’s not the case remember… don’t panic.
Janet Miller is the cofounder of Love RVs. She is a work at home mom of four and spends much of her free time writing and reading.