Creative blocks can be extremely frustrating. As a creative person myself, I know the struggle all too well. When inspiration seems to disappear, it’s easy to get discouraged and stressed. However, there are many effective techniques to overcome these blocks and reignite the creative spark within you. With some effort and persistence, you can get your creative juices flowing again.
Understanding the Causes of Creative Blocks
To overcome creative blocks, it’s important to first understand why they happen in the first place. Here are some of the most common causes:
The desire to create a perfect masterpiece can ironically stifle creativity. Perfectionism causes self-doubt, fear of failure, and anxiety. This excessive self-criticism makes it hard to get started or finish anything.
Lack of Motivation
Sometimes we simply lose passion for creative work. Without motivation, it’s tough to push through blocks. Boredom with regular routines can sap inspiration.
Emails, social media, chores, errands – our busy modern lives are full of distractions. Constant multitasking fractures focus, making it hard to devote quality time to create.
External pressure or unrealistic expectations can also derail creativity. Trying to force inspiration under pressure usually backfires. Creative work requires relaxation into a flow state.
Helpful Strategies to Overcome Creative Blocks
Now let’s explore some proven techniques to get your creative juices flowing again:
Take a Break
Sometimes you just need to step away for a while. Taking a break from the creative struggle can allow your mind to refresh. Go for a walk, exercise, spend time in nature, or do something completely unrelated. Giving your mind space apart from the work can stimulate fresh perspectives.
“Many times I have been struggling to write a chapter or figure out a plot point, gotten stuck, and decided to go for a walk. Inevitably an idea would spring into my head, clarifying the entire issue and allowing me to move forward.”
Shift Your Environment
Changing your physical surroundings can help shake up mental ruts. Environmental shifts – like working in a new location or clearing clutter – provide new sensory input. This could be as simple as working in a cafe instead of your home, or moving to a different room.
A change of scenery refreshes the creative spirit and opens you up to new ideas.
Absorb New Inspiration
Feed your mind fresh sources of inspiration to reignite passion for your work. Here are some easy ways I personally use:
- Read novels, poetry, or stories in the genre I’m writing
- Visit art galleries and museums
- Watch movies
- Listen to new music playlists
- Explore creative blogs and YouTube channels
Consuming art, media, and content that excites you fills your cup with inspirational fuel to channel into your own creations.
Engage Your Senses
Fully engaging your senses also boosts creativity. Here are some examples:
- Listen to ambient nature soundscapes
- Look through coffee table books of visually inspiring imagery
- Smell essential oils like grapefruit, jasmine or pine to stimulate creativity
- Taste something bold and flavorful like ginger tea
- Touch fidget toys, stress balls or playdough
Activating your senses snaps you out of your head, into greater sensory awareness. This presence fuels the creative process.
“Chewing gum while I write surprisingly helps me focus. The incremental motion and minty taste helps my ideas flow, especially when I’m stuck.”
Try Creative Exercises
Structured creativity exercises can help break through blocks by stimulating new neural connections. Here are some great options:
Freewriting – Set a timer for 10 minutes and write stream-of-consciousness without stopping. The point is to keep writing, no editing allowed.
Morning Pages – Journal 3 pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness daily upon waking. This empties your mind of clutter, preparing it for creative flow.
Visual Maps – Map out challenges and storylines visually using shapes, colors and symbols. This engages the visual right brain.
Altered Book – Collage, paint and alter pages of a recycled book. Loose, tactile creating can reveal inner wisdom.
Object Writing – Pick 5 random objects then write a story integrating them. Quirky prompts pull you out of ruts.
Collaborate with Others
Getting inspired by collaborating with others renews your excitement for creating. Try these tactics:
Jam sessions – Get together with friends for unstructured play time with your chosen creative medium.
Exchange ideas – Discuss your challenges and receive feedback from peers or mentors. Fresh perspectives widen your lens.
Co-create – Team up with someone to make something together. The combined energy will heighten inspiration.
“Sitting down with my songwriter friend always energizes me – even if we just joke around, the shared creativity gets my ideas flowing again.”
Maintaining an Inspired Mindset
Ultimately overcoming creative blockages is an ongoing practice. Here are some beneficial mental shifts for staying in an inspired flow state:
Let go of perfectionism and create for the joy of creating.
Set aside time for unstructured play in your craft.
Trust in your own creative gifts instead of external validation.
Avoid comparison and envy of other artists. Follow your own muse.
Start small – aim to create just one new thing, however tiny.
Staying open and receptive to inspiration is key. With time and loving patience, you can move through any creative block. The most important thing is to keep playing and exploring. Trust that creativity always flows within you, waiting to be tapped into.