Creative blocks are the worst, right? The good news is that in this post you’re going to learn how you can break through any creative block, and move your life (and career) forward again.
You feel stuck. It’s the worst feeling in the world. You’re sitting there, staring at a blank page begging for a new idea. Just yesterday you had LOADS of creativity brewing through you but today you’re creatively empty. You feel frustrated, wondering if you’ll have an idea worth sharing again.
You’re stuck in the middle of a “creative block” and getting through it can feel impossible in the moment. Heck, if your livelihood or income depends on your “creative juice” to bring in the dough, a creative block can SERIOUSLY hold you back. However, like a Chinese finger trap the harder you try to force your way out of it the tougher the struggle becomes as it pulls you further into the slump.
Don’t freak out. I’ve been there many times before and believe me when I tell you there is hope, my friend. The best way to get out of a creative block is to go through it. That’s easier said than done, but I believe in you!
Creative Blocks Hold You Back
Before I tell about what helps me get through creative blocks, you need to know that creative blocks are not your fault. They happen to everyone at some point. In fact, if you are any type of creative entrepreneur (blogger, video storyteller, painter, photographer, designer, etc.) and you don’t get the occasional creative block then I would assume you’re not actually being creative in the first place. (You’re probably just copying someone else. LAME!)
Approaching and conquering your creative blocks with the proper mindset is the journey toward becoming a better creative. Every time you break through your block you end up creating even better work. Your creative juices are getting stronger every single time. Creative blocks are never easy, but when you know how to respond to them you can have a plan for getting through them.
For starters, just sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike will just add to your frustration. While prayer and meditation can have some awesome positive effects, the most effective way to gain fresh creativity is to seek out fresh sources of inspiration. Simply sitting on your couch won’t cut it.
I’ve hit many a creative block in my lifetime, and each time come through it more energized than before. Through paying attention to these seasons I was able to identify patterns that consistently help me get through my creative blocks. Now even with these tips, coming out of your creative block is never instant. But stick with it and I promise you will have awesome ideas again!
How To Break Through A Creative Block
So you’re stuck and ready to break through your creative block and start making some cool stuff again? Awesome! Here’s how to consistently break through any creative block.
Shift Your Perspective
There’s an old adage that I first heard from Pastor Perry Noble. It goes like this: “Change of place + Change of pace = Change of perspective”.
When you get a new perspective you can gain new ideas and insights about something. Simply looking at something from a different angle can show you new things about it.
Take a day trip (or even an hour trip) to the next city, or stay in your town and just go to a different coffee shop for a few days. The simple change of being in a new environment will put new visuals and energy around you that can inspire you.
We tend to take on too much, and try to get it done too fast. Clear your plate and slow down your day to create the opportunity for new thinking.
Remember, change of place + change of pace = change of perspective!
Procrastinate (but not too much)
That’s right, if you’re stuck trying to think of a certain idea or solution, just procrastinate! Seriously.
Scientific studies have shown that people who have a problem or challenge in their head, and then put off thinking about it for a while, succeed more often at coming up with original solutions.
There is a catch, though. Laziness and procrastination are two different things. The key here is to think about the problem at hand FIRST, but then move it to the background of your mind while you go and do completely unrelated tasks. Performing other tasks with the original problem in the background allows your brain to think in different ways, while constantly doing micro-analysis of the original problem.
The procrastination method was brought to light to me by Adam Grant, author of “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World”. His book and TED talk go into the science behind procrastination a lot more.
Of course, don’t use procrastination as an excuse to NEVER do anything. You want to use this method in moderation.
Write Something Everyday
The best way to clean out the pipes is to flush them with running water. Creativity works the same way!
Just because you don’t feel like anything creative is coming through, get into the practice of writing SOMETHING every single day. This discipline will help you push through any barriers while also forcing you to write something without it having to be awesome or perfect.
When you build the discipline of writing something brutally imperfect and awful you also make space for fresh creativity to take its place. Think about your mind like your home. You MUST take out the trash regularly so the place doesn’t stink! Writing something every day helps you “take out the trash” left over in your brain. By getting the crap out of your head you make room for fresh inspiration to move in.
Inject Play Into Your Day
Adding play into your day opens your mind up to new possibilities and allows new pathways to form within the brain.
I worked at a major marketing agency for a while. We handled international brands with marketing budgets in the millions. Clients trusted us with A LOT when it came to connecting their customers. When I first started working there I was amazed at how we kicked off new projects.
We would have an project intro meeting with a client. They would be in their suits talking about how important the success of XYZ was. The client was throwing tons of money at this and had high expectations of something fresh and effective. After the meeting, what was the first thing our creative team would do?
Drink beer and play games.
I didn’t understand at first, but quickly learned that it was the playing and casual hanging out that allowed tons of little interactions to take place that encouraged creativity. The best way to have a creative breakthrough is to take yourself (not the project) less seriously and inject play as a crucial part of your work process.
Author Stuart Brown MD wrote a bestselling book about the idea of Play. He goes into more of the science of it if you’re interested. It’s a great book, but honestly it’s probably more fun to test out the theory with some beer and ping pong.
Talk With Other People
No man is an island. Working from home is great, but it has it’s limitations. You need other people to bounce ideas off of, and collaborate with.
I’m always amazed when I’ve been racking my brain for a week over a seemingly impossible problem. Then I’ll mention the problem to a friend at lunch and they rattle off the perfect solution like it was easy. Really they just weren’t stuck in my head, and hadn’t put false constraints around a problem like I may have.
Talking with other people is a fun and effective way to mix ideas in new ways to gain fresh insights. If your business has some steady income already, you could invest in a co-working space. This will give you the opportunity to work and collaborate with the same group of people every week, which can make the creativity process even more fun!
Get Out Of Your Way
Breaking through your creative block mostly involves forcing yourself out of your own habits. You’re essentially getting out of your own way. This takes brutal intentionality over a length of time. Be open to it feeling uncomfortable at first. Becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable is half the challenge, but leads to incredible insights as you master it.
Experiment with other ways to break your routine up so that your mind is forced to get out of its rut. Post in the comments some ways that have helped you break through your own creative blocks.
Take Action Now
Now you’re ready for your next creative block. You’re a force to be reckoned with! Don’t wait for your next slump before you take action. Grab free access to my resource library now so you have all of the best resources for creating a successful business