Everyone in creative fields have experienced creative blocks. Those can be hard to break through but they usually end up in epiphanies that are much more valuable that time wasting breaking through the wall of stagnation.
Creativity helps you to find solutions to any problem. Most of us facing the brink of discovery are very frustrated because we cannot clearly see the next great idea. Don’t blame and curse yourself too much because you can find a key to the door that leads to the world of creative nirvana any time.
Here are some tips I battle the dry spells:
Do not get frustrated.
Frustration is a natural reaction to a problem that cannot be tackled on the spot. Sometimes we are trying to build a sand castle using feathers and wondering why it doesn’t even remotely resembles what we are trying to build. Maybe we have the wrong tools?
So instead of smashing your whole castle into pieces take a break, build something else, look at the castles others build or simply breathe. You must walk away from your project in order to get a fresh outlook on it. Sometimes after you distance yourself you find amazing simple solutions that were right in front of you but you were not able to see them because you were looking from a wrong angle.
Inspiration is the Key.
Yes, this might sound like a cliche but it is true. Maybe you are creatively closed and dry because your mind is cluttered or closed. New ideas are influenced by many factors such as past ideas or outside world. Dig in everywhere, use Internet to your advantage, browse books and magazines in the book stores and libraries, travel, have a chat over a drink with your buddy. You never know what might influence and trigger your idea. Sometimes it’s a feeling or a sounds that will take you to wonderful places in your mind. Experience them.
Sometimes in our digital age we get bombarded with tons of useful information that make our minds cluttered. GO OUTSIDE. There is a bigger world out there with fresh air, ice cream, sunlight, grass and noises. Don’t forget that you are a human being and you need to roam the earth. You were not built to sit still in front of the monitor for 10 or more hours a day . Enjoy the nature and will gift back to you just like it did for Monet.
Start limiting your choices no matter how great they are so you can decide on your direction and execution before the process turns into frustration and stagnation.
For example you need to buy some shoes for a dance event and you have at least 200 pairs in the store to fit your event. First, limit yourself to those choices that only suit your budget, then eliminate the colors that don’t suit your attire, you probably should check the available sizes as well before checking if those could be returned if they don’t fit you perfectly. You probably want a comfortable pair if you are planning on dancing all night long? You probably get the idea… So after you are down to 3 pairs you can call an assistant and try them on. Sometimes it is easier to make our decisions based on what doesn’t fit us than what works.
Limitations are great if only looked at positively and productively.
DO NOT FEAR.
Will anyone like my work? Does it communicate my idea well? What if the client won’t like it? We all had those questions and they drove us insane. Get over them. The more you do and try on new hats the more likely you will succeed. Because worrying won’t produce results only headaches and sleepless nights. Give your best effort and improve on it if something doesn’t work the way you wanted. Usually, after the first draft comes to reality you will get a better idea how to improve your work.
Even if your first try turns out horrendous, awful and disgusting, keep on going. You most definitely will have a spark of creativity. Don’t expect perfection but rather strive for editing your raw content.
Pick someone’s brain.
Ideas have a tendency to improve through analysis and discussion. It’s hard sometimes to get out of your own box because we tend to cling to our “child”. Your friend can affirm your vision, your creative peer can destroy your enthusiasm but chances are you’ll be challenged and will block the holes that needed some fillers.
Always carry a notepad.
Inspiration hits at unexpected times and places so it’s a great idea to have a pen and notepad ready. You can use your mobile device to note any idea that comes to mind. Don’t hesitate and write or dictate everything down because chances are you will forget it later. Sometimes after a great hit enters your mind you are preoccupied with grocery shopping or running into an old friend and once the transaction is over you idea flees never being realized. Don’t waste your time remembering, write it down and finalize details later.