January 27, 2015
10 Tips to Help Overcome Creative Block
Being a creative full-time is never an easy endeavor. In fact, it’s almost impossible to always be creating quality work that is both original and functional. Designers need a balance between life and their creative side to really capture what it is they are after when producing work for both themselves and their clients or business.
This article provides you with a collection of 10 tips to help overcome creative block. Use them to help you be more efficient as well as more inspired than you ever thought you could.
Take A Break
A foundational approach to getting rid of creative block is to simply take a break. More times than not if you think too hard or try to hard to do something you will keep failing until you take a step back and clear your mind before continuing.
Taking a break allows you to put your focus elsewhere. Doing this help you stop pushing yourself in the wrong direction. After a while, you suddenly find that you can readjust and start working again with a fresh perspective. Suddenly you are performing at your best.
We all get busy and think that sometimes there is no time for stopping because that’s not productive. The reality is that this approach is usually counterproductive. Always working and never taking a break is a recipe for disaster.
Remember that you are human and having a humanistic approach is what most strive to obtain when dealing with designing something or being creative.
Do Something Completely Different
Along with taking a break, sometimes you need to switch your focus entirely. Anything from reading a book to hiking in the woods can benefit your creativity if you allow for it. Changing your focus allows you to give your mind a break from overthinking. After a brief break, you can usually go about the problem you were trying to solve in a whole new way.
Track Your Time
Tracking your time gives yourself a deadline. Having a deadline in place forces you to use your time wisely. While this doesn’t mean you will always be creative you will find that budgeting time makes you take breaks, focus when you need to focus, and stop focusing when you need to call it quits.
Tracking time is also useful in budgeting the average time you spend working on something. For future projects, you can use this baseline approach to better estimate budgets, time, and more.
Work In Different Types Of Settings
I have worked remotely for the past two and a half years. I fully support this type of working model for the simple sake of freedom. No longer should we need to commute to an office every day to waste time, energy, and costs. Working wherever you please is gratifying and I highly recommend it.
If you don’t have the luxury of working remotely yet I first suggest you consider a new position. Second, If you can’t work wherever you want you can try to work in different settings where you do work. So for example, if you work in an office setting maybe switch up where you work at the office and work in a conference room or recreational area. Changing your environment promotes productivity and creativity. It also helps keep you from being burnt out on whatever it is you are working on which is incredibly important.
Share Your Work
Share your work with others or on sites like Dribbble for feedback to fuel your creativity.
Sharing your work can prove to be beneficial in igniting your creative fire. Sometimes seeing what other people think about your work provides you with enough insight to help you push your creative boundaries.
You can share in a number of different ways. Probably the most valuable feedback you can get is in person. Aside from that, you can post work on a blog post or websites like dribbble to gain feedback from the creative public.
As a designer and developer, I have always been told by my peers that writing is what allows you to become better at what you do no matter the subject. The key focus is on communication. If you can communicate well enough through words then you have a highly creative future ahead of you.
Writing can eliminate creative block by putting your focus elsewhere. You can spend a lot of time crafting a blog post or journaling to later share with others. From there, depending on how well you shared your writing and the content you provided, you could create some buzz that gets a lot of hits. With a lot of web traffic, you are left with some new followers and peers to help guide you to write more and be more creative at the same time.
Listen to New Music or Podcasts
Music is where my creativity thrives. I play guitar and have played in a band for nearly 10 years now and It’s how I got my start as a designer and developer. Discovering new music is exciting for me and promotes my creativity by a large amount. The discovery aspect is what gives you a different feeling towards whatever it is you are working on. Having music I enjoy playing in the background while I work both increases my productivity level and inspires me to create.
Podcasts are a lot like music when it comes to design and development. A really good podcast can change your perspective on the work you do day today. Hearing from other professionals battling with the same problems or experiences you have had helps you connect on another level and reassure you that you are indeed human and are capable of making mistakes. Podcasts are also a means to discover new interests you never thought you had before.
Exercise is important whether you are having trouble being creative or not. Today we live in a world where we have a lot of tools and automation that make our lives easier but also make us lazier. A great way to keep your focus and promote creativity is to have a consistent exercise regimen. Getting your blood flowing clears your head and makes you feel ten times better. Expending built up energy allows you to get adequate rest and keep your body in good condition as you strive to be creative.
Learn a New Technique or Language
Learning something new is always a great way to promote new creativity. A new technique of painting or drawing, for instance, can open up a bunch of new doors to your own process in making art.
If you create and develop for the web you can find inspiration by learning a new language like Ruby or AngularJS for example. Opening up new doors and expanding your skill set will always provide you with a drive to learn more and achieve more than ever.
Travel Somewhere New
Getting away from it all is sometimes necessary to inspire new creativity. Traveling can be the best solution to a creative block. When you travel there’s that feeling of uncertainty that makes you feel alive and keeps you from getting stuck in a rut. Changing up a boring routine by traveling can really help you become creative again. At the same time, visiting new places can be a real eye-opener that you may never get to experience again so be sure to make good use of the time you have away.
A creative block can be a drag! When it feels like there’s no hope sometimes you just have to take a chance and try something completely different. Doing any of the 10 tips I mentioned before can help you find your own path to creative freedom.
Do you have other ways to promote creativity in your arsenal? Care to share? Do so below!