A couple of days ago someone on Instagram asked me how I usually got over a creative block. And yes, I actually took time to answer because I had a sudden rush of memories related to going through a creative block.
Hitting a creative block is not fun at all. You lose every bit of creative thought and it gets to the point where when you put pen to paper, either something bad or absolutely nothing comes out of it. Frustration, annoyance and banging your head on the wall comes after this. Don’t do this I implore you. Nothing comes out of doing this. I know this because I have gone through the block so many times.
So What Can I do to Avoid a Block?
Everyone’s human. A creative block is natural; it happens to everyone. It is not life/career threatening at all. It’s just a sign your mind is giving asking you to take a break. Every person reaches a state of exhaustion and tiredness when their mind just stops working. This happens to me too, with balancing work, home and personal projects. Some days my mind just goes for a toss and those are the days where I just shut down everything and sleep it off. (No, not sleep it off… or yeah, sometimes, I do sleep it off :P)
So here are some general tips and ideas you can implement whenever you hit a block. Most of them involve giving yourself a break from whatever you have been up to and just relax it out.
1. Stop Whatever You’re Doing – Yeah, you heard me right. Just stop whatever you are trying to force yourself to do because nothing good is going to come out of it. Keep all your stuff aside and forget about it.
2. Take a Chill Pill – So now that you have stopped working, chill out. Relax, do other things you otherwise don’t do. Take a walk, sleep, read a book, listen to music, bake a cake, cook, take photos, clean up your workplace and throw out unnecessary junk. Sometimes all that clutter around you will add up to your block and make you feel totally out of it.
3. Get Inspired – As they say, nature is the best teacher. Go for a walk, take a drive and observe things around you. The trees, the flowers, people, whatever is around you. Looking for other sources of inspiration? Haunt Pinterest and search for whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be related to what you’re doing, it can be something totally unrelated. You never know how that unrelated pin will help you come up with ideas for your new/existing project.
4. Carry a Notebook or Sketchpad Always – Yep, you never know when inspiration strikes. So whenever you go out, carry a notebook or a small sketchpad and a pen in your bag. When you get an idea or there is something around that is inspiring you, note it down or sketch it out. It could prove useful the next time you go through a block, you can always refer to your book of ideas and sketches.
5. Take a Vacation – Walk around the neighborhood or a drive around the city not helping out? Pack your bags and take a vacation to your favourite place. It could be the beach, the mountains, another city, the village, anywhere you want to. A change of scenery can give you a much needed break from work and help you rejuvenate, relax and come back stronger than ever.
6. Try a Different Art Form or Style – If you are someone who has stuck on to one style and suddenly find yourself stuck with that style, change it. Try a new style, medium or art form. You’re into doodles? Why not branch out and try drawing a mandala? If you are done with this, why not try to get into lettering? There are so many things you can do, so why limit yourself to just one style?
7. Importantly, Don’t Get Frustrated – This is something you should never let happen. Understand that going through a creative block happens to everyone so don’t beat yourself up. Everyone goes through this at some point in their creative journey, and everyone found their own ways to tackle it. It is inevitable, but try your best to avoid pulling your hair out and getting annoyed with yourself. You will get through it, I give you my assurance.
8. Attend Workshops and Meetups – If possible, attend creative meet ups and artistic or design workshops where you can meet a lot of people to network with. You can learn something new from the workshops, get to understand people and what they do. You may even get your next idea just by talking to someone, and what more you could even collaborate with someone to get your idea running.
These are just some of the way I go through when I am hit with a creative block, or just need a break from work. I balance a full time job, personal work and other issues and there are many instances where my mind goes blank for days. I feel burnt out and totally uninspired with no mood to work on anything. As you can see, this can happen to anyone. The point is how one can pull themselves out of this block. Don’t let yourself get into a stage of depression and anxiety when you are not able to do anything. Stay calm, relax and give yourself a break from things and get back to it when you are fully recharged.
Until the next blog post,