We’ve all stood eye to eye with it at some point or another. The dreaded “block” that creates a horrible slump in our ideas and ability to create. The good news is, there are some simple tools for defeating a creative block, no matter how stubborn it is.
Regardless of if you consider yourself to be a “creative person” or not, you’re likely doing something creative every day without even thinking about it. Creativity is anything from writing a book to painting your nails. Yes, seriously. You don’t have to be a master chef or musical genius to call yourself or what you are doing creative.
And believe it or not, allowing yourself to be creative (in whatever form) is so important for your wellbeing.
Here’s some examples of how to get that flair of yours going and tools for defeating a creative block.
Free flow writing
If you’re in the middle of a creative writing block, you’re obviously not going to sit down and knock out your life’s greatest work.
That’s when free writing or journaling is your best friend. Writing with the premise that you’re under no pressure to produce anything of value or particular substance, you’re more likely to actually be able to write something.
Write about your day, something funny that happened, a conversation with a friend. You’re just jotting down words to describe your day, no pressure on it being something anyone is ever going to read.
Removing the pressure, expectations, or deadlines from the equation allows you to relax. And as you relax you might notice that the words start flowing more freely, perhaps even dissolving your creative block in the end. Writing like this can also spark ideas and creativity in other areas. Try it!
Pin your little heart out
What list of tools for defeating a creative block would be complete without the mention of Pinterest? This bundle of inspiration is used on a regular basis by millions of people (yes, actually 100 million people a month). It’s no doubt a favourite pass time for a lot of people.
Since it’s full of clever ideas, beautiful images, dreamy landscapes, and inspiration related to every field you can imagine it’s a handy bookmark when you’re fighting an artistic block (or just bored and itching to do some internet-ing).
Scroll through your home feed or input some random search terms to see what results you get – and how they might tickle your creativity. Let your curiosity lead you, click your way through to sites, blogs, shops, or articles and get more of whatever catches your eye. That’s your creativity asking for more, chase it.
Talk to people. And listen.
“What do you mean talk to people? I talk to people all the time.” Yes, but how are you talking to them? And are you listening?
You never know what story someone has to tell, and what it might set in motion inside you. Spark up conversations with co-workers, acquaintances, friends, family. Show a genuine interest, listen to their story and ask questions: Why? How come? What did you do then? How did you feel? What did she say then?
Someone’s crazy story might just be the inspiration your creativity has been waiting for.
This one is difficult, I totally feel you. It’s not like it’s easy to sit in silence, eyes shut, and get our thoughts to quit buzzing. At least the third of those isn’t easy, but the first to actually are.
You can easily sit in silence and shut your eyes. So go do that. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Give it at least that much of a chance. And then see what happens. Maybe your mind will be screaming at your for ten minutes. Or maybe those blabbering will taper off after a couple of minutes.
How is this going to help your creative block? Because sometimes when we just allow ourselves to be, we release whatever tension it is that is causing that block in the first place. And maybe sitting in stillness will suddenly bring some new idea to you. I’ve had some amazing ideas come to me during the short 5 minutes I sit and meditate daily.
Write a letter to your future self
If free writing seems like too grand of a task, then try journaling or writing a letter to your future self.
Not only is this something you are writing for your eyes only – thus removing the pressure of having to be super well written – you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to consider your future and what you want it to be like.
Writing a letter to your future self can be an amazing tool for defeating a creative block and sparking new ideas. If not instantly, then perhaps when you read the letter in the future and revisit the thoughts and dreams of your past self.
Try using futureme.org for writing and scheduling letters to yourself in the future. I do this regularly and the letters I receive from my past are sometimes great reminders of things or hobbies I used to do but perhaps have fallen out of engaging in. It can be a powerful reminder to pick up those lost dreams.
Do something creative
Before you wonder if I’ve lost it (you’re giving someone struggling from a creative block the suggestion to do something creative?!), hear me out. Choose a crafty thing to do, but make sure it’s not in the field of creativity that you are struggling with.
Do something creative that is not the same type of creativity as where you’re wrestling to come up with ideas. Here’s some suggestions: do some scrapbooking, doodle or draw, knit something, gather your most colourful bunch of pens fill the pages of a mindfulness colouring book, sew something, sing, dance, cook a dish you’ve never tried before, or bake a cake.
Letting go (for now) of the craft you’re trying to do and tap into your creativity in other areas. You might find that it sparks some new ideas or gets your creative juices pumping again. Eventually, this could help you defeat that creative block of yours.
If all else fails…
If all the above fail, try doing some activity you’ve never done before (yoga or pole dance, perhaps?). Or go for a walk (nature can do wonders for our inspiration), a run, go work out. Watch a documentary that’ll teach you something new. Or read blogs or books to fill your mind with stories.