Creative block stumps us all, doesn’t it? If only we were able to turn our “creativity switch” on or off at will the world would be such a better place. Unfortunately, creativity isn’t like a light switch. We don’t just turn it on and it stands still. Instead, creativity is more like an avalanche. In a seemingly calm environment, one trigger can result in a rush of activity, gaining volume and momentum as it goes along, in a highly unpredictable manner. Sometimes, I like to think of creative block as part of the creative process. Once you’ve hit it you know the next thing to come will be your brilliant idea. While everyone’s creative process works differently, three things that help me turn creative block into creative moments are clearing my mind, being open to new ideas and procrastinating, many times in that order, though truthfully they may all be seamlessly related.
I like to think of clearing our minds as the equivalent of having a new canvas in front of us. Most times, we wouldn’t paint on an already painted canvas. We wouldn’t have the freedom we would like. In the same way, if our minds are occupied there is less room for new creative thoughts to occupy.
Furthermore, one of the biggest hindrances in creativity, I think, is holding on to an old idea. Sometimes we refuse to let go of an idea of which we thought the world. Yes, it’s painstakingly hard to let go. That idea is our baby and it was the best idea of our lives. However, if it’s not going to work then the sooner we can let go, the better. Time and time again I’ve seen that as we can fully let go of the old idea, the sooner a newer, better one emerges. Once our minds are clear we can be open to new ideas.
Being open to new ideas doesn’t have to mean delving into hours of pressure and research. I’m not going to discount the fact that this sometimes works because of their mentally stimulating tendencies, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people don’t cope well with pressure and the more pressure they feel, the more creative block they experience. Sometimes, being open to new ideas simply means just that: being open.
We can find inspiration through various methods. Talking with friends, watching a movie or listening to music are some ways in which we can help battle creative block. Even something as unconventional as a cup of coffee falling on the floor might inspire a brand new idea. Creativity follows no rules. Sometimes, taking our minds off of the task at hand and focusing on other things helps us to get that creative spark that we need. Naturally, this can lead to procrastination.
I am a firm believer that procrastination is the avenue for either the most constructive or destructive things on the planet. Procrastination always helps us remove ourselves from the restrictive bubble in which we find ourselves whenever we’re under the pressure to be creative. Even if we intentionally procrastinate, our minds inevitably tend to wander off while procrastinating to a calmer, more collective place.
This is the point at which we are most receptive without even realising. This is the point at which the avalanche is poised, waiting to take place. We all have our own procrastination methods. Some of the most common ones are probably cleaning or rearranging things. Even playing around with a completely unrelated project might inspire tremendous new ideas. The creativity is inside of us, we just need to find the best way to unlock it.
With all of that being said, the only true way to get passed creative block is to do the things which help you best. There is no formula to get passed this designer kryptonite. All we can do is learn from former experiences in order to make the future experiences less block-laden. Though every situation is different, once we can somewhat establish a particular method for dealing with creative block, it will almost become a thing of the past.