Overcoming Creative Block
Unlocking Your Creativity: what is a creative block, how can you overcome it & more.
Designers, and other creative professionals, often push themselves to the limit to bring to life their visions. A client’s open-ended brief can be a double-edged sword for them: on the one hand it is a blank slate to experiment and enjoy creating, on the other it is exhausting to tackle multiple ideas that pop into their imaginative heads.
So every now and then, they experience a creative block. Much like a racehorse, you can’t just run your brain to the limit every time without it burning out. Every creative professional from every field, even the ultra-famous, suffer from this challenge in their careers. Many individuals have made entire careers out of teaching people how to overcome mental barriers such as a creative block.
You can find endless amounts of online classes that teach mindfulness and other techniques to fight this block. But you’re reading this article, which means that’s not the kind of time you have. So, here’s a quick dive into identifying a creative block and overcoming it!
Firstly, identify when you’re in a creative block accurately. If you find yourself struggling for ideas, it doesn’t always have to be that you are at fault; an incomplete creative brief can send you down the wrong rabbit hole entirely. Largely, a creative block can be spotted when you’re having difficulty connecting any creative thoughts into a cohesive idea. And it isn’t time bound, lasting for days, weeks, months… for some even years. Identifying this problem is a key first step in solving it.
For the next steps, why not try some of these methods below:
1. Write it, Log it, Document it, just do it!
For people who are stuck in a block, or generally unable to pay attention, noting down your thoughts when they occur to you is a good practice to instil. For this, get a handy notepad to carry on you at all times. Any small idea, even as small as a new name you thought up, should be noted down for future reference. Sometimes ideas can arise from the strangest of thoughts! Take it a step further by mixing and matching your notes and see what fits into a new concept.
2. Always see your thoughts through
Starting work on an idea only to abandon it along the way is a terrible practice to indulge in for your creativity. A classic positive thinking saying is “there is no such thing as a bad idea”. So find new avenues to explore and finish that incomplete idea. This can help open up new design possibilities by helping you achieve something out of your comfort zone.
3. Say no to monotone in your workspace
Take a good look at the space you work in. Is it devoid of colours and life? Then chances are it’s sucking away your creative energy into it. Spruce up your workspace with new colours, inspirational mood boards and even the occasional plant to give your mind somewhere to wander about in!
4. Inspiration hides in the unlikeliest of places
If the block just doesn’t seem to let up, step away and invest your time elsewhere for a while. Often creativity and ideas are hiding in plain sight, in places you had never thought to give a second glance. For example, some artists are so inspired by actual human faeces, that one even canned his up and sold it for its weight in gold! Paraphrasing what we said before, there are no shitty ideas!
5. Explore other areas of creative thoughts
Instead of starting out the window for some idea to pop into your head, try looking for creativity closer to home. Take notice of other areas of design like photography, fashion or product packaging design. Or take a look at other forms of creativity like short stories, stand-up comedy or films and their storyboarding. These deviations from your normal creative process can help you kickstart new ideas entirely.
6. The brief isn’t always a boundary
While an incomplete or incoherent brief can be tasking to tackle without proper productive discipline, it can also allow you to present new visuals to your client they never thought about before while broadening the horizon for them and you as well.
7. A fresh perspective always helps
Ever thought about what your grandma thinks of those funky new sneakers that just came out? What about what your younger siblings think of the vintage styles making a comeback in everyday fashion? These are a few examples, but you will be pleasantly surprised to view a creative from someone else’s fresh perspective. It will give you insights on what jumps out most to different people, and what you want to emphasize more in your designs.
8. And if nothing works, then it’s time for a break
Look, at the end of the day, you’ve tried every trick in the book to think up some new creative idea but the brain just won’t budge? Then it’s time to take a well-deserved break and step away for some time. Pushing through a burnt-out phase is not going to do your ideas any favours, neither your mental health. So, grab some me-time and get involved in other passive activities you enjoy, letting you reset your brain for the next time.Suffering a creative block is never going to be fun, but don’t forget that it happens to everyone.
Some ideas are only able to flourish when slowly marinated in the cycle of time. So instead of piling on the stress, try one of the methods above to get those creative juices flowing!Suffering a creative block is never going to be fun, but don’t forget that it happens to everyone. Some ideas are only able to flourish when slowly marinated in the cycle of time. So instead of piling on the stress, try one of the methods above to get those creative juices flowing!
Suffering a creative block is never going to be fun, but don’t forget that it happens to everyone. Some ideas are only able to flourish when slowly marinated in the cycle of time. So instead of piling on the stress, try one of the methods above to get those creative juices flowing!
Credits Photo in the Cover by Henrik von der Lieth.
WRITTEN BY: Vikas Sharma – Account Associate at Public Relations and Media Strategy firm WATConsult.
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April 21, 2020