Working as a creative can be extremely rewarding for people who love their craft. However, when you depend on your creativity to pay rent, you can't afford to be short on ideas and energy to create them. Sadly, staying inspired all the time can be tricky and maybe even impossible.
Creative blocks happen when inspiration is nowhere to be found and you can't find the motivation to create. If you're in a creative profession like writing or designing, then you can expect to encounter some form of mental block at one point or another.
The good news is you can overcome creative blocks by being proactive about dealing with them. Here are things you should consider doing to get your creative juices flowing again.
Getting sick of being in your home office? Switching up locations may be able to help you combat a creative block. Take your work to the cafe down the street, maybe the beach if it's accessible, or a park where you can disconnect (just download any materials you'll need ahead of time) and focus on the work. Remember that an environment can influence people in different ways, so think about whether you prefer a quiet spot or a place where you can hear indistinct chatter in the background.If going out is not an option, then maybe changing the method by which you do the job can help. For example, if you're a writer who normally uses a computer, try using an actual pen and paper or use a voice typing feature (like the one on Google Docs). Any activity that can push your mind to think in a different manner might just do the trick.
It's easy for a creative to withdraw and ruminate when in the thick of a mental block. When that happens to you, put the pen tablet down and arrange to meet with a friend to talk it out. This may work better if it's a fellow creative, but ideally it should be someone who doesn't know anything about your project.
It helps if it's another writer or artist because every creative goes through these blocks, and it can be pacifying to know that you're not alone in your struggle. Just talk and explain the problem that you need to solve. Sometimes just talking about it can help your brain find its way to the solution.
What if your creative friend is not available to meet you? Consider talking to artists online. There are many communities, such as Facebook and LinkedIn groups, where members are ready to offer support and help you through these obstacles. When your mind returns to its productive state, maybe you'll even be able to help others.
Recognize that while creative work is in your core, there are moments when your creative mind — like every other mind — needs rest. Understandably, taking a break might seem counterintuitive when all you want is to just get on with your project. However, you're likely not going to get any more done by starting at a blank page, so try doing meditation or taking a nap.
In fact, you might even consider literally leaving it overnight. According to designer Tom Kenny, "Constantly looking at the same design you're working on can cloud your vision on how well the design works or simply how good it looks."
His advice: if you've been struggling with a piece for half a day or even longer, then you may need to rest overnight and return to it in the morning. It will be like looking at your work with a fresh set of eyes. You'll be able to better evaluate it with a fresh mind and make the necessary additions or adjustments.
Remember: creative blocks are normal. Feeling frustrated with your work and being unable to create may even be considered a standard part of the creative process. Being uninspired in the moment does not make you less of an artist. So take heart, try these tips, and you'll soon find yourself on the other side of your creative block.
For more articles about creativity, visit the Crafters.
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