How to get over a creative block

How to get out of the creative block rut?

This is one of the questions that pops up the most while I work with design and artwork, and even when I talk with people from different fields. It may not seem so important when you look from outside of the situation, but it is when you have to come up with something new almost every week.

 
Bloggers, writers, coaches, illustrators. Everyone has already gone through that phase where the “bright light” just doesn’t show up.

 
This has to do with how much we gather references. The freedom we have. And a few other things.

 
But I believe there are things we can do to give ourselves a push.

 
Today, I’m going to share some of the things I learned on the way – through stretching my creativity daily – about how to have a great idea when you’re under pressure or in a rush.

 

 

Don’t stop your brainstorming at the wrong moment.

The act of self-judgement and self-analysis may be automatic in our heads, but when it comes to the first steps of generating an idea, this is a big NO.

 
I`ve been a master of doing that.

 
Your brainstorming can`t be the step where you apply logic. That doesn`t mean you should remove this from you creative process.

 
Just leave it for later. Get a paper, write, make doodles, whatever. Put some music on and don’t think about anything you do right now.

 

Write or draw even if you are bad at it.

One of the things that works for me when it comes to illustration is writing. They may not seem related, and to be honest, I`m hella bad at it.

 
But narrating my idea helps me to mark the main aspects of an illustration and clarify the message I’m thinking about. And materializing my mental sketches somehow gives me the opportunity to add more to it later on.

 
You just have to find a way to structure even more what you are thinking about.

 

Try other methods, materials, and processes.

Sometimes, we create an attachment to one way of working. And, one of the things I learned collaborating with a lot of different people of this big Milky Way is that your idea won`t always work when you always think in the exact same way.

 
If you feel like you ain’t going anywhere, try to think about the same thing applied with a variety of medias, materials, and placements.

 

Give yourself time.

When you are starting out in the creative business, you can get really into making your creative flow like a 9 to 5 job, even though they are totally different.

 
And that is a mistake. Creatives need space to refine and develop their projects. Sometimes your idea won’t show up in 3 or 8 hours. It is important to keep some realistic schedule when it comes to that. And a realistic deadline for the people who rely on your work.

 

Feed your imagination.

As we grow older, we lose our connection to imagination. If you want to keep your creativity running smooth, you definitely need to open yout brain to your kidult side. It doesn’t matter if you do that through games, movies, books, as long as you do it.

 

Redo your routes.

Sometimes doing the reverse process can be a great way of finding something innovative and noticing things we didn’t before. If you are stuck in your creative process, try to undo its hierarchy in order to verify if you can implement different things.

 

Train your mind to get out of your comfort zone.

This is not a go-to tip, but its relevant anyway.

 
If you are the kind of person who have trouble getting out of your comfort zone, that is a problem. You might want to start training your exposure to new experiences in a weekly base.

 
Why?

 
It is way harder to go for something new if you are always afraid.

 
I always try to not repeat my post images layouts. It would be comfortable for me to use always the same one, but everytime I change that I’m actually forcing myself to seamlessly think about something different.

 

Focus on problem resolution for a while.

Some people make creativity sound like an enemy of logic. For me, they are interdependent. So, clarifying and segmenting a problem even more can work sometimes too.

 

Find inspiration far away from the field you are working in.

When we look for inspiration in your own field, we tend to end up following trends rather than creating something innovative. When we look at other fields – such as fashion and art, in my case – we are able to filter that inspiration in order to process it.

 

Recognize yourself as a creative person.

Here’s another advise that is long-term. I noticed that for me, the lack of self esteem with my own work can definitely be a problem during the creative process. So it is important to recognize ourselves as creative beings and evolve our professional self-esteem. Sometimes a creative block can be rooted in deeper problems.

 
If you have anything to add please comment below. Let me know – how you personally step out of a creative block?

Carla

Graphic Designer and illustrator from São Paulo/Brazil sharing my journey as solopreneur. In love with cinema, cats, and glitterous stuff.

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