by Kerby Rosanes . April 17th, 2013
As creative people, there are those days that our brain seems dead. No ideas coming in, run out of creative fuel while thinking of the deadliest deadlines of projects on going. Commonly known as creative block, many are faced with this kind of situation either caused by personal problems, mental block, emotional barrier, communication breakdown, etc. All people in the creative industry is experiencing it. A writer, designer, painter, sculptor or even an art director is once faced with this frustrating situation. Although creative block is inevitable and creatives can overcome it from time to time, it should not be ignored for it can actually be career damaging.
If you are feeling stuck and doesn’t know where to start and what ideas to pitch in, then you are experiencing a creative block. Well, don’t panic. Relax. If there are various causes of creative block, there are also numerous ways of breaking through it.
Here are ten of the most common and effective ways of beating creative block (based from my personal experiences) to help you guys bring back that little spark of creativity you need!
1. ASSESS YOURSELF.
Before going to any other actions, try to assess yourself. Ask yourself questions like,
– Why am I not motivated?
– What is blocking my way to pitch in the idea I need?
– I am missing something, what is it?
It is important to answer questions like this first before jumping into conclusions that you are facing a creative block. Identifying them might just be the simplest way to get you going with your design work.
Other (unecessary) questions that might arise:
– How can I possibly pay the rent this month?
– Who the hell destroyed my roses in the garden!?
Nay! Thinking this sort of things while working on your design will definitely NOT help!
2. READ A BOOK/MAGAZINE.
Print is always one of the most effective sources of inspiration. Books and magazines are on top of my list. Read a fiction, an illustrated children’s book, a photography catalogue or a fashion magazine. Fictional books will tickle your imagination work while magazines enhance your judgement in design.
3. SEARCH FOR INSPIRATIONS ONLINE/OFFLINE.
There is always something more over the Internet than porn and Justin Beiber. There are numerous blogs and online portfolios out there that showcase the best of the design world. Try browsing them for the creative sauce you need. Or better yet, go to the nearest art gallery and be inspired. What I like most about art galleries and museums is that seeing actual artworks personally gives me that rare creative feeling. It’s like you have that instant connection with the artist by just looking at their works first hand.
4. DOODLE ON PAPER.
Grab a pencil and a sheet of paper then start doodling. Sketch anything you have in mind. Through this, you can sharpen your drawing skills and your random scribbles might just be an effective ingredient in formulating that kick ass design concept. This is why sketching is always an important factor in every design process.
5. UNPLUG. TAKE A BREAK, A WALK OR A VACATION.
Shut down your PC for a while. Take a walk and try to see the awesome things outside your workstation that you are missing every single day. Unwind. Get away for a day or two. Having a break or a short vacation can recharge your creative self and get back to work the next day overflowing with creative awesomeness!
6. LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC.
Another effective way to fight creative block is by listening to some music. I usually turn on the speakers in high volume whenever I work on a design. The beat of the songs gets me going, as if it supplies creativity into my brain. Sometimes, some of my artworks and designs are actually inspired by the songs I play while working on them. It worked for me so why not give it a try!
7. BE SOCIABLE. TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE OUTSIDE YOUR INDUSTRY.
Having a conversation to other people outside your work or industry can help you solicit ideas that might help you overcome creative block. What’s good about talking with OTHER people is that you can have an idea of their own take on random things. A casual conversation with other passengers you met on a train might just give you that creative spark you need based from their shared thoughts.
8. ASK QUESTIONS. DO SOME RESEARCH.
You are experiencing a creative block probably because you are not asking enough questions about your project. Who is your target audience? What do they need? Do some more research about your project. How do other designers do it? A creative spark starts from a well-planned concept and idea before laying it out on pixel or paper.
9. GET SOME SLEEP.
Get some sleep. Then sleep more. According to a study cited in an article in The New York Times, those who slept more showed improved mental agility including the ability to make novel connections between disparate ideas. In other words, people are more creative after sleep. Sleeping will not only recharge your body but your brain capability for those aha! moments as well.
Work hard. Play harder. Playing is not just for kids but for adults as well, especially those who need to be creative. In a TED talk of Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, he mentioned that “creating an office in which people have the security and comfort to play and not be judged allows them to take more creative risks”. I have this set of Anime action figures on my working station. Whenever I feel less creative, I play target shooting with them and get back to the design I’m working on feeling more creative. Play is a doorway to curiosity, discovery and creativity.
There you have it guys! Many of the above mentioned tips worked for me in beating creative blocks. While some have common ways of breaking through it, some may have tried crazy ways such as doing the household chores, repainting an entire room, or pulling out all the weeds on the neighbor’s backyard. But whatever ways you take as long as it brings back your creative self, then it’s worth trying!
Now it’s your turn! How do you deal with creative block?
Share us your thoughts and comments by leaving a message below. Stay creative everyone!
Kerby is an online marketer who has a keen eye in print design and creative artworks. When not at work, he spends most of his time in completing his sketchbooks with doodles and illustrations from anything that inspires him to draw. He is an avid fan of Japanese Anime, manga and some comic book characters. Check out his illustration blog and portfolio for more info.