Creativity is a fascinating thing! There are countless possibilities to what can form in the creative mind with no limits to what a single individual can invent. Ideas can be shared universally by others but the devil is always in the details and when it comes down to the details, every idea becomes completely unique. When you consider just how much work that big old brain of yours can really do, it’s actually quite mind-boggling (pardon the pun)!
And yet, finishing a project we can be proud of is always an uphill battle. There’s always room for improvement in our work or a more efficient way to complete it but these often feel like goals that are just out of our reach. This can be due to a lack of confidence in our abilities, a sense of urgency to meet deadlines and a series of other factors. The most common problem however is that old classic; the dreaded creative/writer’s block.
It’s the most disheartening and infuriating experience you will ever deal with as a creator and it can strike anytime for any number of reasons. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already experienced it on more than one occasion and if you haven’t, I can guarantee that you will.
There’s no definitive explanation as to what causes that creative block but there are many ways for you to work around it. Some of these suggestions may tailor to you, some may not. Regardless, you’ll be much better off attempting them than you will sitting around waiting for the block to just pass of it’s own accord.
Maintain A Positive Work Space
Many people mistake this to mean “clean your room” but that isn’t strictly true. Everybody has a unique process of their own and while some may feel the need to keep everything tidy and organized, there are others (like myself) who have a more chaotic process by nature. Project notes can be neatly stacked on one work desk and scattered across another yet the results can be equally successful.
This is because both desks have one thing in common: They tailor to whoever is sitting behind them. If you prefer your working environment to be clean and organized then keep it clean and organized. If you have an alternate system that works for you then don’t deny that system. Stick to what suits you so you always have the positive mentality that can bring out your best work.
There are naturally a few limits on what’s effective for both sides of the spectrum. Depending on the size of your project, an organized individual may spend more time trying to maintain their work space than they do actually working. Meanwhile, a mountain of dirty plates and an overflowing ashtray does not count as an effective contribution to an organized mess. Whether you’re organizing everything you do or just letting it stack up in a pile, always make sure your work space is a positive environment for you.
Don’t Cram Your Schedule
Setting unrealistic deadlines while maintaining your day job/studies/social life adds to your stress until you inevitably begin glancing towards the clock while your mind wanders to the next task on your busy schedule. That time is meant for creating. Juggling your other activities simply hinders your progress and you will notice the decline in your quality of work.
If you’re taking time to work on your creative project, make that time about your project and nothing else.
If You’re Going To Procrastinate, Do It Properly
If you find yourself hindered by the block for an extended period, get out the old notepad. Write your progress so far and then rewrite it. Put the questions that you’re failing to solve onto paper and write the potential solutions around it. Just seeing those questions sitting in front of you can spur you forward unexpectedly. A whiteboard can be a surprisingly helpful ally as you fight to breach those walls.
If those questions remain unanswered, move on to the next part of your project for a time. There’s a time that comes with any unsolved problem where frustration and stress begins to hinder you further. The best solution is to take a step back for a time. Focusing the mind elsewhere an allow for your subconscious to try and put the pieces together in the background while you make progress elsewhere.
Don’t force yourself through a problem you’re not solving when there are better ways to spend that time. Being aware of your own progression is one of the most encouraging sensations for a creator and you should hold on to that throughout your entire process. Your momentum can be slowed but it should never be allowed to stop for long.
Change Up Your Own Schedule
There is such a thing as spending too much time on your project. Powering through a creative project when you don’t feel inspired can be much more damaging than taking an extra break or two and if you force yourself to put your nose to the grindstone for too long, the passion for your work can die pretty quickly. Maintaining that creative spark is nowhere near as difficult as reigniting it.
Unfortunately, it does happen quite often. The big problem with creators is that they are usually overly eager to get their project completed and out into the world. That time will come but it won’t happen overnight. Eat, Sleep, Create, Repeat will not do you or your work any favors, you need to take time to yourself and make the rest of your life as varied and interesting as possible.
Don’t just stick to your usual recess routine, change things up as much as you can. No matter where you’re from, there is always something you haven’t done before. It doesn’t need to be anything special, you don’t even need to go anywhere sometimes. Just do something different, even something ridiculous!
Go for a run, sign up to paintball, pull an all-nighter watching bad TV, sit in a park and watch the passers-by, try new food, visit a nightclub, sing in public, go on a day trip, when was the last time you did a cartwheel? Just do something different as often as you can! Even making yourself feel like a fool will provide your mind with new stimulation.
The creative mind craves new adventures no matter how small or silly they may seem! Be aggressive in seeking out those new adventures so that your creativity expands even further. You’ll come out on top in the end, more confident in your abilities than ever before!