I consider myself a creative person in all aspects of life. When I go to meetings or interviews and I tell people I’m a creative person, they picture me knitting or making origami. Creativity is not only about crafting.
While I do agree that that is also a type of creativity, I see myself as a holistic creative individual. My mind never settles; it’s constantly flooded with different ideas from many domains. It can be an article idea for this blog, a new recipe to test and develop, some creative photos to take or a new way to improve my cleaning time around the house.
So when it come to blocks, they are not just writing-related. For me, they are creative blocks that can be very frustrating sometimes.
If you are truly a creative person, you know that creativity is not something that can be contained or fully controlled. It’s spontaneous and it almost never happens when you want.
What’s a Creative Block
People usually call it writer’s block, since it’s most commonly for them to happen. But all of us feel it at a certain point, in a way or another.
According to GoodTherapy, a creative block is the inability of accessing one’s inner
Remember when I told you that sometimes it’s simply not working? Or whatever you come with, it’s not good enough and nothing satisfies your picky mood? You might be facing a creative block.
Why Are Creative Blocks Happening
When you feel like your brain is completely drained of any good, decent ideas, physiologists say there are multiple factors involved:
- fear of rejection or failure
- the need for perfection
- stress factors: financial, work or health-related issues
- an emotional loss
The list can be very long and I would say you already added some of your own points to it.
Bottom line: we all have things that “turn us on” – from a creative point of view, and of course we have turn offs too.
Some of the tips I’m about to share will be quite obvious and more like: “yeah, thanks for nothing”, but I think it’s important to truly understand them and apply them according to one’s feelings and expectations.
Usually people leave this as the last one, but I wanted to get it out of the way.
Yes, this the very obvious and everyone recommends it at a certain point. It’s also usually “Plan Z” – when nothing else works.
But let’s admit it: sometimes it’s just not working out. No matter how hard I try to apply one of the tips below, none is working and then I know it’s time to let go.
It’s better this way, rather than becoming more and more frustrated and not getting anything done anyway.
Find the Problem’s Root
If I notice that I can’t focus and I don’t like anything, I stop.
I set everything aside for a few minute or more so that I become aware of my state.
I need to become aware of the fact that I’m not on the right track. I have to pause a little and start digging a little deeper and discover what triggered my negative feelings.
Once I identified it, I’m free to regain my creative mojo and keep going.
For me it’s not difficult to realise what triggered a bad mood, it’s more difficult to realise that I am in a bad mood and that it’s affecting my work.
When things are not working out at all, leave everything aside and do something else instead.
One thing that works for me is a good run. Or working out.
There’s something about that burning muscles feeling that makes me switch my focus to a completely different thing. You can’t think of something else when you’re feeling that level of discomfort.
Some other few things I like to try every once in a while are:
- having a snack
- singing (no, I’m not good at it)
- playing board games
Find it Somewhere Else
Creativity is meant to be found, not produced.
There’s a reason why they say the best ideas come in bathrooms, right?
If I don’t feel like ‘finding my mojo’, I try to get inspiration somewhere else. Photos or articles can trigger a million different ideas – that don’t even have to be related to where I started.
Here are some of my favourite platforms I use to find some inspiration:
- Pinterest – images always help me
- Pocket – I keep there articles that I think I could use as inspiration
- Notes (basically the built-in app on every smartphone) – I keep there all my articles ideas and sometimes scrolling through them, I might get the feeling that I could write a really good article about X topic
Taking a walk around the neighbourhood also helps me a lot.
We all have some red lines that when are crossed… things don’t end well.
Try to get to the point where you see what triggers a creative block or a bad mood. Write them down if it helps.
One of my triggers is hunger. I’m a foodie and when I’m hungry, I’m quite a horrible person. And I know that I become really bitchy and picky, so this is a major trigger for me. As a result, I won’t start working on something if I’m hungry.
Identify your patterns and triggers and remove them before they become a problem.
Do it Anyway
As I’m writing this article, I can’t say that I’m at my full creative capacity.
As a matter of fact – I seriously considered skipping publishing a new article this week because nothing felt truly right.
I call this a mild creative block.
A mild creative block can be overcome by pushing it a little. Don’t feel like writing today? Push yourself a little harder and actually start writing. You might finish writing it before you realise.
Over to You
That’s pretty much it from my side.
My favourite tips – and those that always work the best for me – are identifying the problem or have a distraction. And if it’s not really working, I learnt to not feel guilty if I let go.
What are your best tips that you apply when you have to overcome creative blocks? Please share them in the comments below!