5 Tricks to Get You Passed a Creative Rut
You're sitting at your work station staring at a blank sheet of paper. The blank sheet of paper is staring back at you. Supplies are sprawled out allover the place. Your hand is twitching, ready to make some artistic magic happen. You pick up your choice of medium and put it to the paper. You're ready to put in work but you're brain is drawing a blank. You have no new concept. Nothing springs to mind. You're having a creative block.
A bit dramatized, but it happens to the best of us. Creative blocks are apart of the creative territory and are kind of unavoidable.
In case you aren't too sure, creative blocks are similar to writer's block, just on an artistic level.
Where in a writers block, a writer has no idea what they should write about and where to begin, an artist suffering from creative block doesn't know what they should create next or even where to begin.
This feeling of being stuck can escalate into different feelings depending on the artist. I know when I have a strong creative block, I question my talents and abilities. If I can't think of anything to create at that moment, surely I'm not the designer I thought I was and I'm definitely not ready to take this to the next level. But that isn't the case at all. I know I'm great, I just don't have an idea that's grabbed me and that's perfectly alright.
What isn't alright is staying stuck in that rut. In no way, shape or form should you be comfortable with not being inspired. Especially if it's your livelihood.
If you don't break your creative block, a couple of things could happen...
1. You become so comfortable in your block that you take a long and unnecessary break from your work and become rusty. Not only do you have to get out of the creative block but you took a few steps back and have to refresh your skills also.
2. The pressure to create something causes you to stress so much that you question life as you know it generating an onset of self doubt. Is this what you want to do? Is it what you should be doing? Are you good enough? That other career makes so much more money...
3. You continue to waste valuable time staring at blank pages.
Now, while number 3 is the most common occurrence of a creative block, both 1 and 2 are also viable results from being creatively stuck. Again, it's completely natural but also solvable.
Creative blocks normally occur due to a lack of inspiration.
It's time to create something, but you don't know how or where to begin. You don't have inspirational funds stored in your creative bank. Completely corny but extremely true. I mean, think about it. When you go to an ATM, you withdraw money from your account if it has money. If your account doesn't have money, you can't withdraw anything. Same thing applies to your creative bank. If your creative bank doesn't have any inspiration stored away, then there's no inspiration for you to withdraw and use.
Fortunately for you, I know what you can do to keep your creative bank full and it's so simple.
Easy right? Just keep an overflow of inspiration and you won't have to worry about a creative block. Now, how do you do that? Honestly, you can come up with countless number of ways to find inspiration, but to save you time and effort, here are the 5 ways I work through my creative block.
1. Press Play.
One of my biggest sources of inspiration is listening to music. It can be a lit hip hop jam or a soft R&B song or a soulful pop sound or anything really. I try and capture the feeling of a song by envisioning its energy in color and by using the lyrics to discover my muses personality. Not only that, it drowns out my thoughts and complete silence at the same time.
So put your headphones on and listen to anything that can distract your mind or even change how you feel. You can chose music like me or listen to a podcast, a tv show in the background or even white noise.
2. Get Out.
Going back to where we started, you're sitting there staring at that blank page and doing absolutely nothing. Why? If an idea hasn't come to you by now, and you've done absolutely nothing to shake up your mental, it's not going to come to you now! That means now is the perfect time for you to go some where that will get your creative juices flowing.
Don't go to that same cafe you always go to. Try something new. Go to a garden, a concert or even play around at a flea market. Go somewhere that's fresh and pull inspiration from what you see.
3. Be a Student.
If you think you're done learning than you're done creating. There is alway room for knowledge, I don't care what you say. In college, one of my entry level art classes had us study a notable figure in our major, study their design and techniques and asked us to mimic them. We weren't passing their work off as ours, it was only in our sketchbook for class. Don't worry! I chose fashion illustrator, Rene Gruau and I have never forgotten about him or his work. I explored his illustrations and became familiar with using watercolor paints, something I had never touched before.
Look up a great person in your field or in another. Examine what they do. Mimic what they, but don't pass it off as your own. Take what you learn and translate that into your own voice. I promise you'll get something that you never would have otherwise.
4. Take a Break.
Sometimes a creative block is brought on by just being too tired. We appreciate your hard work, but you have to remember to take care of yourself. So do us all a favor and go relax. Chill with friends or have a whole spa day, just do you.
Clear your mind and your stresses so your creativity can freely flow.
5. Get Active.
We all dread it, but it helps so much! If you're creative block is causing anxiety or frustration, this is definitely a must. Letting those feelings linger will cause more harm than good. Because energy is never lost, just transferred (that's science), you need to transfer you anxious energy or frustrated energy into something productive.
Work that negative energy out at the gym or take the cheaper route (because starving artist, duh) and pull up some work out videos on YouTube.
There you have it. 5 super simple ways to work through your next creative block. And just in case you hadn't noticed before, I created a free guide to help you get through your next creative block. Click the image and sign up to access this guide as well as other free printables and exclusive material in the Creative Library.