Get Unstuck. How to Unblock Your Creativity

Expressive Clay Art

Struggling with ideas? It happens to the best of us. All creative people experience a frustrating block at one time or another. The creative well that often overflows suddenly is dry. You’re uninspired and self-doubt creeps in. For those who make their living with their creativity, this issue is not a small problem. What is the best way to deal with the dreaded creative block?

The easy thing to do is to lose perspective, especially when a deadline is looming. The much harder, but certainly more productive mindset is to realize that everyone you respect and admire has overcome blocks in the past. Some say it is just part of the process. The best strategy for me when I’m blocked is to change course. I’ve learned from experience that stewing in my misery and wondering why I ever believed myself to be talented in the first place serves only to make the situation worse.

creative block

As the British economist John Maynard Keynes once said, ”The problem lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones”. Inspiration is thought by many to be the holy grail of creativity; spark your imagination by committing to fearlessly moving forward despite the momentary paralysis. Finding new sources of inspiration when stuck is what separates the good artist from the great artist.

Below are some good ideas to “mix it up”.

  • Take a walk or a drive
  • Surf the web or send some inane tweets
  • Paint the bathroom
  • Plant flowers
  • Reread a favorite book
  • Go to a movie
  • Dirty your workspace; if you have a blank canvas, paint a blue line. If you are a writer, write nonsense words, If you are a potter, stick your fingers in the clay. Nothing is more overwhelming than looking at an empty workspace.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is a common cause of creative block!
  • Look at examples of work (in a book, online, or at a museum) from other people to get ideas. Even if you try to copy their work it will still be different because they are not working on it, you are.
  • Talk it out; maybe a personal problem is preventing the creative juices from flowing. Sharing your thoughts with a trusted friend may help you deal with the problem or at least help you feel better.

Basically, the idea is to distance yourself from your work. Give yourself some space. Clean out the cobwebs. Creativity requires focus, and focus is difficult to maintain all the time. So take a break, and while you are doing so carefully observe all that is going on around you. Inspiration is often found where you least expect it!

What do you suggest to unblock your creativity? I would appreciate knowing what works for you as your technique may be helpful to someone else as well.

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