My Top 7 Tips To Get Rid Of That Nasty Creative Block
Here’s a question for you…do you ever get creative blocks? I know I do, and it is incredibly frustrating. My passion for writing, my passion for photography and creating in general, all relies on my ability to avoid having creative blocks at all costs. In a perfect world, creative blocks wouldn’t happen...but let’s be honest, it certainly ain’t a perfect world and creative blocks can come at me when I least expect it!
Whatever your creative venture: painter, ceramicist, musician, woodworker (the list of creative beings could literally go on for pages and pages), and particularly if like me, you are a one woman (or one man show), then your role is wide reaching and broad. You become not only the creator of your product, but you also become the website & IT guru, researcher, journalist, copy editor, photographer, stylist, social media manager, and metrics analyst. Suffice to say, the last thing you need, and indeed the last thing you have time for is a nasty creative block. When this does happen to me though, I do have a way to break down those creative blocks and get my creativity flowing freely and authentically again.
So here they are, my top 7 tips to get rid of that nasty creative block.
1. Disconnect. Yes, I know this seems like a completely stupid thing to do when it comes to any creative business (particularly if your business is based online) but I find that when I stop scrolling and put the phone down, and get outdoors and focus only the sights and sounds around me, this helps me begin to re-focus my thoughts on all things creative. Of course your “disconnect” may look a little different from mine - it could be meditation, exercise, catching up with friends – whatever it is that helps you separate your thoughts to give your creative mind a little break, then do that. Be kind to your beautiful mind, it has a hell of a lot of amazing creative ideas floating around and it deserves a break too.
2. Get the music pumping. I’m not talking about having the volume so loud that your neighbours think you’re holding your own private rave in your house, but have a playlist at the ready, and turn the volume up loud enough so that all of the good happy vibes begin to pump through your veins. This usually gets me feeling motivated, and once the motivation happens, I generally find the creativity comes soon after.
3. Make a list. What did you hope to achieve today? Write (or type) it down. Now look at that list again and be honest (and kind) to yourself. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. What can be pushed aside for another day? What absolutely must be completed today? Take some pressure off yourself through list making. It’s an incredible visual tool to get all those jobs out of your head and onto paper. All of a sudden, the 10,000 things that you thought you needed to get done today turns into 3 things that you need to get done which is much more manageable and less overwhelming, and now you know what needs to be completed, so you can start getting the damn thang done! As you complete your tasks, put a big red line through them, pat yourself on the back, and then tomorrow look at that list again and prioritise, complete, red line and repeat.
4. Get rid of distractions. Are you in a loud room? Go to a quiet one. Are your friends/family messaging or calling your relentlessly? Put your phone on “do not disturb”. Perhaps the biggest distraction of all….social media!!! Unless your creative venture involves scrolling Instagram for eight hours a day, then put your phone in another room, or if you can’t be trusted to keep from sneaking into the room for a quick scroll then TURN IT OFF! Distractions are just that, and it blocks all of the creative goodness that can come from focusing your thoughts on your own creations, your own business, your own social media presence. Whilst we’re on the topic of social media…
5. Stop comparing. Social media is great. Instagram in particular has become a magnetic visual universe filled with people posting “the perfect image”. At first when we see it we feel fleeting joy (or at least we think we do), and then our good friends self doubt, envy and negativity come to hang out with us at our very exclusive pity party. Comparisonitis is an awful affliction. Yes, the people we follow curate perfectly planned squares of visual mastery and on the surface their lives/creative ventures/lifestyle may seem perfect and easy, but ask yourself these questions:
Do you know how hard they’ve worked to get there? How many years it’s taken them to build a following? Did they study for five years as a struggling university student to get their fine arts degree before pursuing their creative ventures? How much money have they invested in their business? How many mean messages and comments a day do they have to deal with (both online and emotionally). What would happen to their livelihood if Instagram disappeared?
Social media is a wonderful tool for those of us who can’t afford a PR company to “sell” our products. These social platforms do have a place in the creative world, but I think we compare ourselves too much to others and we then engage in negative self talk and think that just because we don’t have one million followers that we won’t ever amount to anything. I call bullshit. There were so many other people that achieved great things before the golden age of social media. They did it with hard work and taking time to form authentic and personal connections face to face with potential customers. They also had an unwavering self belief in their product and/or service. A sure way to block your creativity is by focusing on someone else’s, so please stop comparing and focus on you and what you are trying to create.
6. Be kind to yourself. You are only human. There will be days where you just simply don’t have the ability to give it your all because life in all of its hectic and unexpected things get in the way. Know that this is okay and just set your list aside for when you get your inspiration back.
7. Remember your achievements. No matter how big or small. Every moment of your journey should be celebrated. At times when we have a creative block it’s easy to forget about what we’ve achieved so far and there tends to be a huge focus on what we haven’t. Think back to what you’ve achieved and remind yourself that there will be plenty more of those awesome moments in the future.
So there they are, my top 7 tips to help get you through your creative block. Go ahead and give my tips a try – I’d love to know if they worked for you. Or, if you have your own tips and tricks then leave me a comment below.
Till next time,