“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
― Maya Angelou
If there’s one thing that’s inevitable in the creative process, it’s that some days you’ll come face to face with the dreaded creative block. We’ve all been there; a master of productivity one day, then the next day… nada. The struggle is real, people!
If you’re up against a giant metaphorical iceberg that’s puncturing your productivity, don’t abandon ship just yet! With the following tried and tested remedies, you’ll soon reboot your creative engine and have that pesky unproductive hole patched up in no time…
- Question It
The first thing to do when you’re stuck in a rut is question why you’re there. How did it happen? What changed? Is it because you’re tired? Is it because you’re restless? Sometimes the solution is crystal clear, as long as you identify the problem.
- Talk It Through
It may seem obvious, but talking through your creative blocks can really help to break them down. Get together with your mates or some likeminded comrades and ask for their input; they might be able to see something you’ve missed. If you’re at work, arrange some brainstorming exercises with your team or try collaborating on the project with someone you can learn from. Collective thinking is constructive to the process and can help to re-ignite that productive spark.
- Sleep On It
Getting some well-deserved kip is often all you need when you find yourself face down on Struggle Street. If you’re on a deadline, try taking a quick power nap. Just a short 20 minutes can improve your alertness and won’t even make you feel groggy. If you have some time to kill though, get an early night and go back to your project the next day. Looking at it with fresh eyes can give it a whole new perspective, so get yourself off to bed pronto!
- Stay Up Late
We know we’re contradicting point 3 here, but for some people, the best ideas come late at night when their minds are most relaxed. If you can relate to this, try keeping a notepad by your bed. That way, if you get any bright ideas during those quiet, twilight hours, you can jot them down and get them in print to keep you from forgetting them by morning.
- Take a Break
If you find yourself going round and round in circles until there’s nothing left in the tank, maybe it’s time to take a break? Have a shower, go for a walk, head to the gym or meet a friend for lunch… whatever works! There’s no use just sitting there stewing over the issue. Blow off some steam, go outside and seek some inspiration! Breaking out of your working environment to observe the world around you is the best way to re-engage and shake off that slump.
Reading can help to ditch the distractions and re-focus your mind on the task at hand. A study in Science Journal shows that reading –particularly fiction - plays a key role in opening your mind. It links it to the ability to emphasise, imagine and understand the mental states of others; perfect if you’re trying to create something that others can relate to. So if you’re struggling with the block, pick up a book. It’s all for the greater good!
Meditation works a treat when you want to rejuvenate and clear your head. If you haven’t tried it, you may be sceptical, but why not give it a go? There are loads of free meditation programmes online and plenty of videos to follow, so take advantage! Allowing yourself some down-time is essential when you’re trying to be creative. All you need is ten minutes and it might just turn your whole day around!
- Get Busy
If switching off isn’t for you, opt for the opposite by taking on a menial job that will keep your mind ticking over. Organise your closet, clean your kitchen cupboards, tidy your desktop or hang your new posters. Tasks such as these don’t take a lot of thought but they might just get you into a productive headspace and kick your motivation into gear.
- Check Into a Hotel
Want to make sure you stay productive? Check into a pricey hotel and take your laptop. Make sure the hotel is located in a place with no distractions and once you’ve checked in, tell the staff at front desk to lock away your TV remote. You’ll soon blast through that creative wall when there’s nothing else to do, especially if you’re paying a fortune for the pleasure! Trust us, it works every time!
- Power On!
If worst comes to worst and you’re still hitting a wall, get your head down and smash through it! Even if what you’re producing is rubbish, at least you’re still producing! To help you on your way, try doing something you’d never usually do. If you’re a writer, kill off your main character. If you’re an artist, paint something completely out of your style. Even if you never going to use the material, you shouldn’t see it as a waste of time. All you’re doing is flushing out all the bad ideas until you hit a good one. It’ll happen at some point, we promise!
So there you have it – our top ten tips to revive your creativity! Just remember that creative ruts are totally normal. If anything, they better your craft. So revel in that funk and do your own dance! You’ll get into the swing of it eventually!