11 Tips to Smash Your Creative Block

Virtually all creators, be they writers, painters, web designers or practitioners of other artistic trades, eventually run into creative blocks.

You probably know what I mean if you’ve ever tried to exercise your artistic muscles. You struggle to come up with a great idea, but no matter how you try, nothing good seems to appear. In fact, the more you struggle, the harder it seems to get.

So what do you do when such a block rears its ugly head? Try a few of these tips, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself unstuck!

Start With The Bad

One of the best ways to overcome creative block is just to get started, no matter how much you dislike the thing you are starting with. Often you’ll find that just the act of beginning something can overcome the inertia you felt trying to come up with a worthy starting point. Don’t worry about failure, or producing something terrible. In the end, you’ll probably find that once you get moving, you’ll be able to refine whatever it is you’re working on into something you can be proud of.

Find a New Workspace

If you have a tendency to work in the same space day after day, you can shake things up by finding a different place to create. Check out a new coffee shop or coworking space. It’s likely that enjoying a new work venue, even for a couple of days, may give you a fresh outlook.

Keep A Running List

Inspiration strikes us at the oddest times, it’s not something you can just turn on and off like a faucet. If you write down your good ideas as they come to you, then you’ll have a reservoir of captured imagination to go to when you need it. If your medium is more visual than literary, try keeping a digital scrapbook using Pinterest, Evernote or some other service that lets you save images.

Give Yourself Limitations

A blank canvas, and all of the infinite possibilities it conjures, can be daunting. If you give yourself some rules or limitations within which to work, you narrow the scope of the possible into something a little more manageable, making it easier to choose a path forward. Giving yourself a deadline and sticking to it is one really good way to force limitations on an otherwise open-ended project.

Take A Break

A tired mind is an inefficient mind. Don’t force your overworked brain to come up with good ideas. Instead, walk away, take a breather and then return with fresh vision. Do something you find relaxing or enjoyable in the interim. You’ll find that once you give it a rest, your creativity will be bursting with new ideas (and make sure you capture them as they come, as I suggested earlier).

Borrow Someone Else’s Idea

I’m not suggesting you steal outright here. Don’t do that! But if you’re blocked, go look at the work of people you admire and harvest inspiration from what you love best. You’ll often find avenues forward that you hadn’t considered and new techniques that open doors to whole new ways of working.

Put Some Tunes On

One of the great things about music is that you can enjoy it while you work on other things. If your creativity is dry, putting on music that excites or inspires you can stimulate your brain and get the artistic juices flowing again.

Talk to Other People

If you are hung up on a project, talk to a friend, family member, coworker or fellow creative about the block or problem you’re facing. They will likely have some helpful thoughts or suggestions. And as you describe the problem to them, you may even surprise yourself by voicing your own solution. 

Go Outside

Spending some time outside enjoying nature can help you clear your mind and stimulate fresh thinking. Go for a walk around the block or go to the park. In fact, many writers and visual artists, including Aristotle, Charles Dickens and Van Gogh, have found inspiration in their strolls through the city or countryside. 

Do Some Chores

If your creativity is simply not flowing, free your creative mind by getting busy with some ordinary chores around the house. You can wash dishes, sweep floors, clean out your fridge or do laundry. When you’re done, your apartment looks much better, you will feel more in control of your environment and you will likely be happy to go back to that pesky creative task.

Seek Inspiration 

Get away from your own project. Pick up a novel and read a couple of chapters. Visit an art exhibition. Watch an episode of a new TV show. Look at any potential source for a cool new idea or perspective. Whenever we’ve taken this advice, we’ve found some inspiration that fed back into the project we’ve been struggling with.

Want to work with creatives who know how to keep their designs fresh? Give the Solamar team a shout, we’re bursting with fun ideas.