10 Tips for Getting Over a Creative BlockKristin Crane
Is there anything more frustrating than a creative block? At best they make you feel like you’ve wasted valuable time. At worst they can make you question all your life choices. When you make a living off your creativity, feeling blocked can be more than a nuisance. It can cause a lot of anxiety. Yet, you’re not alone. Ask any creative person if they’ve ever felt like their creative well has dried up and they will surely answer yes. So, where do you start when you need to get over this hump?
Our tips for helping to get over a creative block.
- Stop trying to be creative.
Maybe this sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re not feeling it, give yourself a break. Step away from the computer (or out of your studio) and acknowledge the feeling. Be nice to yourself and go do something else. Exercise, cook a meal, read a magazine or call a friend. Give yourself permission to stop trying to force yourself to be creative.
- Get outside.
There have been numerous studies done on the benefit of nature to our mental health and well being. Moving around, breathing fresh air, and simply seeing natural objects help to recenter you. Head to a local park, or walk around your neighborhood. Wherever you go, try to look at your surroundings from a different perspective. Maybe that means taking a different route around your neighborhood. Sit on a park bench and pay attention only to the animals or to the plants. Take deep breaths and let nature work her magic.
- Take a class in something unrelated.
Learning is an effective way to stay curious. While it’s tempting to always be developing skills related to your job, it can be the seemingly unrelated activities that get those creative juices flowing again. Thankfully, learning online has never been more accessible.
- Talk to strangers.
People love to talk about themselves especially if you ask a specific question. Ask something and listenly thoughtfully, giving people space to share a good story or quick antecdote.
- Travel, even if you never leave home.
It can be incredibly stimulating to get off a plane, breathe in unknown smells, eat new food and hear new sounds. But most of us can’t pack our bags at every creative block. Even if you can’t breathe in the air and taste the foods, you can tap into the travel vibe from home. Read through one of your old travel journals and look at photos from a past trip. Visit a local museum or park that is new to you and pretend you’re someplace new.
- Get into a routine.
Sometimes being creative is about discipline. Try to create a good habit to get into a routine that welcomes the start of the creative process. For example, draw for 15 minutes, weave one piece a day, or journal for a set period of time. Whatever it is that gets you started, focus on that simple task and not the bigger more daunting one.
- Plan a creative play date with friends.
Creating by yourself can get lonely. Getting together with a group of creative friends is good for your spirit and also a fun way to share ideas. Creative play dates are also perfect if you want to share resources or tools like an indigo vat or letterpress.
- Spend time in your local library.
Libraries are ideal places to browse for hours without ever feeling bad about not buying something. Flip through magazines, make an appointment to visit the special collections room, wander aimlessly and pick up any book that sounds interesting. Added bonus, libraries help you feel connected to your community. They open themselves up to happenstance, letting inspiration strike in surprising moments.
- Get off social media.
There are many ways in which social media can be very inspiring. On the flip side, it can also deliver a seemingly endless stream of people we can compare ourselves to. In the throes of a creative block, everyone seems more talented, more creative, more successful. If scrolling has you feeling bad about yourself, shut it down. In addition, take a break from posting. Free yourself from looking for validation from people you may not even know!
- Just start!
Give yourself permission to just start and know that it might not be good, sellable, Instagram-worthy, (insert your own personal hang up). Just start. Feel ok knowing you might stuff what you make in the bottom of a drawer and never show anyone. That’s fine. The point is the process, not the product.
How do you get your creative juices flowing again?
We would love to hear how you deal with a creative block. Let us know in the comments or tag us on social media.