Creative block – we’ve all been there. It can be a total nightmare for a professional writer who relies on their creativity for their bread and butter. The big question is how do we recognise if it’s really creative block and how do we overcome it, so that we can get our creative ideas flowing freely again?
1) DON’T think there’s only one right answer
Do you ever stop to consider that there might be more than just one right answer? This is one of the biggest flaws in our rigid education system, they suppress our creative thinking by making us focus all our efforts on looking for the one correct answer. Instead, you should try looking at the issue from different perspectives and open your mind to different answers, after all, real-life issues are ambiguous.
2) DON’T blindly follow the rules
If you’re following a set of rules, then seriously, DON’T! For a change, you should try breaking them and see what happens. Rules can be a really useful guideline of what to do and what not to do, but in terms of creativity they can often inhibit our innovative ideas. Just think about it like this – someone else has set these rules for you to follow and everyone is following the exact same set of rules as you.
3) DON’T stick only to your specialised role
Nowadays our job roles are becoming more and more specialised which results in us looking inwards, rather than outwards. A creative person must look further afield than their immediate role, so start looking into other areas and broaden your knowledge. Knowledge is key to effective writing! The ad man Carl Ally once said, “The creative person wants to be a know-it-all.” So, observe everything you see and read as much as you can and take it all in.
4) DON’T work for hours on end without a break
One of the biggest issues that can cause creative block is getting stuck inside your own thinking. You need to know when to take a break, or you will have the most unconstructive few hours of your life that you will never get back! When I say take a break, I don’t mean check your Facebook or Twitter and go back to it. Move completely away from your desk! Go a walk outside in the fresh air, read a book, watch a TV show by heaven play with your kids’ Lego!
Also, during your break make sure you have some refreshments. Some people say that you should stick to water or natural fruit juices, but I find that a sugary tea does the job well done! The extra sugar will give you a well-needed energy boost and will help you to focus again with greater clarity and creativity.
Chief writer of Jackpotjanebingo said: “I used to always think that I couldn’t take a break because I had too much work on my desk but then I found that by taking a break my productivity actually increased so no matter how busy my day is I always make sure that I take some time out and I make sure my staff do too”.
5) DON’T get overwhelmed with work
In a busy workplace, things can get a little hectic to say the least! We often find ourselves overwhelmed with the amount of projects piling up, plus the day-to-day stuff that needs to be done.
The easy solution to this is to make sure that you are well-organised and allocate a certain amount of time to each task each day. For instance, put two hours aside each day to respond to emails. If you try to answer them while you’re working on your next masterpiece it will only take your eye off the ball and you will lose your creative flow. You should also make sure that you take the time out of your day to sit down and process your creative ideas, to give them a chance to blossom.
6) DON’T wait for inspiration to strike … Grab it!
A common problem for writers is hitting a brick wall as soon as you put pen to paper or finger to button. It’s awful when you don’t even know where to start! You can spend hours upon hours pondering your thoughts and trying to come up with something to give your piece a kick-start.
The best solution for this is to actively look for inspiration. Create yourself an inspiration board and fill it with lots of things you like such as holiday snaps, favourite quotes, CD album covers and so on to get the creative juices flowing. Here’s some examples.
After reading this, you should now be able to recognise creative block and know how to deal with it effectively. I hope that these pointers work as well for you as they do for me. Now stop banging your head against a wall and get back to work!
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