For many professionals, especially in the creative industry, theres nothing more terrifying than a blank page. Whether by code line or brush stroke, initiating a workflow often seems to be obstructed by some sort of resilient force. Until its dealt with, nothing you try to fill the page with feels right.
Of course, the force in question can only be creative block - the last thing anyone wants in a job that depends on being inventive. Those who have braved The Dreaded Block and overcome it have done so in one of numerous ways. What works best is different for everyone. So, next time it stands in your way, consider one of the following tips.
Dont Force It
Creativity is not a manual skill that can be turned on or off; its a series of mental and emotional processes that sometimes just fail to assimilate. We all lose steam sometimes. The only workable solution is to give your brain a break and let it recharge. Allow the ideas flow back in naturally until you feel ready to apply them.
Walking away from the computer - and subsequently the task at hand - may sound a little counterintuitive. But theres good sense
to the idea. A digital detox can help give your mind a refreshing change of perspective, allowing you to think beyond the distractions posed by your devices. Effectively, it will teach you how to see.
You dont necessarily need to spend days or weeks living an Amish lifestyle. A simple half-hour walk can make a world of a difference. It would be wise to bring along a pen and notepad, as you may be surprised by the ideas that start flowing into your head when it goes analog.
If you believe anxiety is the root of your problem, a digital detox could also be the solution.
More often than not, its our fear of not being good enough that holds us back from getting started. Perhaps a better approach is to shake off any worries of failure and push through. After all, its only when you take risks and work out of your comfort zone that you can really sharpen your skills. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
It may be true that inspiration is everywhere, but its far more prevalent in places youre not used to looking. Immersing yourself in activities outside of your comfort zone is a great way to eliminate creative block and spark new ideas.
This is especially true for cultural experiences, be it movies, concerts, festivals or exhibits. Get out there and awaken your senses!
Sleep on It
Modern work culture tells us all too often that our personal wellbeing should take a backseat to professional endeavors. But in reality, no 60 hour work week truly pays off - especially if it involves sacrificing sleep. Studies have shown time and time again that sufficient shuteye is imperative to cognitive functioning. Without sleep, creative block will prevail.
Granted, getting enough sleep is not always easy. Start by setting a schedule and optimizing your sleep environment. The latter can include reducing noise and light, setting a cooler temperature and using a humidifier. Most importantly, you should have a comfortable bed. Take a moment to buy the best mattress
and find a good pillow, too.
Sometimes, you just need to do something that doesnt demand any thinking at all. It can be as simple as going for a run, washing the dishes or mopping the floor - as long as its methodical and repetitive. When youre done
, youll not only be relaxed and prepared for work; youll also enjoy some satisfaction having completed a necessary task.
Break it Down
Its easy to overestimate the scope and complexity of the task at hand when the entire project is in view. As a certain one-eared painter once said, Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
Van Gogh knew that the big picture can make us feel overwhelmed, often leaving us paralyzed. Take a step back and find ways to break your project down into manageable chunks. Then, you can focus on one piece at a time instead.
Nobody is safe from the dreaded effects of creative block. But with the right steps, we can all stop it before it stops us.