Have you ever had a creative block-it’s just about like “writer’s block” that you’ve probably heard of no doubt. If this has happened to you you’re not alone! Some days you can’t turn off the good ideas, but others, not a one in sight….what’s going on?
Well, the truth is, this is very normal! The truth is we are never “on” 100% of the time. Yes, I get this too! Sometimes I don’t have my A-game on all the time…and you know what?
That’s OK! None of us do 🙂
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What Causes These “Blocks”?
It’s hard to say for certain what causes these blocks, but they can seem to come out of nowhere-am I right? There is no single cause, per se, but there can be some things that can contribute to us being less sharp than usual, and one of those things is stress. If you’ve gone through a particularly traumatic event you know that can cause you to be less motivated than usual.
It could be a loss of some kind, like a loved one, the loss of a job, or some other important source of support. In the mid-summer of 2018 my husband passed away and a year later, my youngest cat died sometime after Christmas. Not a fun time at all! I know a lot of people felt like 2020 was pretty rough, what with the pandemic and all. I must say having been working from home long before it started, it wasn’t that bad a year. But yes, stress is one thing that can kill your motivation – and your potential crop of new ideas, too.
Maybe things in your environment can kill your motivation too? For me, it’s too many dreary days. Definitely a mood killer, is an idea killer too. I find I’m more prone to the “blahs” on those days. Another thing is boredom – getting stuck in a routine can do it for me. If you find yourself getting stuck in a rut, it might be what’s behind your creativity blocks.
Perhaps set the wheels in motion by thinking of some new ways to do things? Just a small change for me, like taking a different route to go to the store, can do wonders to shake up a blase regimen and help get into a better state of “flow”.
Sleep on It!
You might be surprised….this one is true. Taking a short nap can be very helpful here. Whenever you feel fatigued you can also feel mentally drained and you just might need to recharge. I’m unsure of who the famous person was that quoted “The answer might come to me if I sleep on it…” Pretty much someone who understood the importance of periodic “winding down” because good ideas don’t have as much leeway to come in if you’re feeling drained or emotionally spent in some way.
Don’t force yourself to come up “with something good”. That has a way of putting unnatural pressure on you to “do something” which can have the opposite effect and can stress you out. If you find yourself in a loop of “Should I do X? No, that’s no good, come on, come on, think…” you know you’re in the wrong frame of mind here.
Taking a Walk
This one can really be good for you. Exercise is good….it is good for your health but also good for clearing your mind, too. A clearer mind can pave the way for some good ideas. On a good day, being out in nature can have some benefits.
The sight of pretty colored leaves in the fall, blooming flowers in spring can be the basis of relaxation and inspiration. Just the serenity of nature could be enough to get recharged again…sitting by a creek, taking a stroll, watching birds…all of these make for a great way to unplug from “busy brain” and re-connect.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Some of the best ideas I’ve had just came out of nowhere. Enter the iconic image of the lightbulb over someone’s head in a cartoon symbolizing one of those “A-ha!” or “I’ve got it!” type moments. Many times good creative ideas just do that, sneak up out of nowhere, who knows why? There’s some days when I just wish I had a pad and pen nearby to write it down when it does happen, so I don’t forget it later on.
Don’t Strive For Perfection
It’s OK if an idea is not a total winner in every way, shape or form. Start working with something good, but remember it isn’t set in stone….it can be reworked. Not too long ago I did a re-do of a handmade lamp just by changing some of the parts – case in point.
Every now and then, I find myself wanting to put something like a sculpture or painting together that seemed mundane, but there’s been some projects that I felt like needed to be kept simple. You can certainly take something that’s been done and add your own personal signature to it.
Create An “Idea File”
I used to do this with magazine clippings, yep, in one of those traditional manila folders. I did this long enough and I ended up having enough picture clippings to create a collage like this one (first image )! Of course in this day and age you can do this with digital images on a thumb drive. Find something really good? Bookmark it, or if you’re old-fashioned like I’ve always been, clip it with scissors and add it to your file folder to retrieve at a later date.
You could probably create a Pinterest board for this, too…you know how you can create some non-public boards by setting them to “keep this board secret”…and name it your “idea board” or something like that. Pinterest is one of the best repositories for new ideas, especially those of an art, craft and DIY nature since it’s easy to dig up large groupings of them based on idea keywords alone. ….so this is where I’d go first.
Looking for a GREAT Way to File Your Ideas?
I’ve recently developed an “idea tracker” just for you! This printable Creativity Planner Pages set which I carry in my shop, has all the space for brainstorming, organizing your ideas, and from there, figuring out what to do with them.
I’ve also got several color variations, too- you can download and print as many times as you need…Never be without a way to get those golden nuggets down on paper! You can check it out HERE.
Changing Your Environment
It could be the cause of your creative stifling is your own environment. There are times I get into a “mood” and have to change up my own space from time to time -sometimes I’ll have a “rotation” of paintings and wall decor that I’ll swap out for another that “fits” me better. Believe it or not, it really helps!
Maybe doing something like this could help you, too…could your space use some de-cluttering, or redecorating altogether?
Need More Inspiration?
Hopefully you now have an idea of how to clear out the cobwebs and get some fresh new insight going! If you’d like some additional reading, one of the best books on the subject is The Artist’s Way…Definitely worth a read on the subject. it’s been around awhile and includes a good bit of exercises on getting in touch with your inner artist.
This is a good article that expounds further on beating the creativity “blahs” and worth a read 🙂
Do you have some ideas of your own for breaking out of the creator’s block? Share with us in the comments.