Before we go ahead, I just want to say that there is no right or wrong way to beat a creative block. Things that work well for others might not necessarily work for you, and vice-versa. But there are certain things that all of us can do when we find ourselves in the midst of a creative pickle.
I am very active as a creative; I’m always involved in some kind of creative activity like photography, art, writing, DIY projects, and crochet, to name a few. But the more involved you are in a creative process, the more likely you are to hit a creative wall, every now and then. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means that you’ve got too many ideas in your head at the same time, and you need to take a breather and sort it all out, slowly.
Think of it as a big bundle of many, many balls of yarn; they’re bound to get entangled if you don’t take the time to sort them out, every now and then. It’s almost like checking in with yourself and assessing whether you are ready to take on a little more than yesterday. In most cases, though, we are ready. But sometimes, we let ourselves get carried away with the number of things that we would like to accomplish in this lifetime, and we end up in a creative block.
So, as someone who runs into a creative block more often than is expected, here are five things that always work for me, and how they can help you too:
1. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR PREVIOUS WORKS.
How it helps me: When I run into a creative block, it’s usually because I don’t know how to go about a certain idea, or because I don’t remember how or where to begin. So, when I take a look at my previous works, it’s sort of a reminder that I’ve already done something similar. It’s also a good way to retrace my steps and deconstruct the entire process in my head, which helps me go about my next work much more easily. If I cannot deconstruct the process, I draw inspiration from my previous works, which I might as well.
How it can help you: Revisiting your previous works will allow you to mentally deconstruct the process and help you understand where to begin, even if you don’t exactly remember how you did so the first time around. Another great thing about looking at your old work is that you not only get to draw inspiration from it, you get to do a lot better this time because you’ve probably got a bit of added experience. It also helps you understand your own creative process better.
2. INDULGE IN SOME FORM OF MEDIA.
How it helps me: When it comes to writing or sketching, I’ve always drawn inspiration from just about anything that I see or hear. A lot of my poems are inspired by the books I read, the stories, the characters, the shows I watch, the songs I listen to, etc. Even if I have been over the same piece of media a hundred times before, there will always be one line, or one scene, or one verse, or something that will strike as inspiration in that moment. And when that moment strikes, it helps me come up with a complete picture in my head; the only thing I need to do is work towards that complete picture, starting with a blank canvas.
How it can help you: Creative blocks can be tricky to navigate. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and look at things from another perspective. Look at different things from a different perspective, even. Art is everywhere, and it definitely helps to look elsewhere if your current source of inspiration isn’t working. Read a book, watch something with nice visuals (or watch something silly, I’m not judging), listen to music you truly enjoy. You’ll find a way out of your block somewhere down the line.
3. LITERALLY TOUCH SOME GRASS.
How it helps me: A change of scenery can be of great help when I find myself in a creative block. There are times when I step out, look at the people around me, and unwittingly end up creating a whole backstory to them, even though I have only crossed paths with them for the briefest of moments. Sometimes, snippets of their conversations subconsciously make their way into my writing, or some feature of their appearance ends up making it into one of my artworks. Nature itself, helps me write and sketch with much richer details. It helps me gather a mish-mash of ideas that I later end up incorporating in my art.
How it can help you: The more you observe, the better you are with details. Sometimes, our minds will neatly store information in little pockets that we don’t even realize exist, and it will help you draw inspiration when you need it the most. Notice the people around you, notice more of nature, how the light falls over the leaves or streams through them, how someone’s hair looks under the sun, or how their conversations help you look at things with a fresh eye. This will help you navigate your creative blocks better.
4. DO NOTHING.
How it helps me: One of the biggest reasons anyone hits a creative block is that they have too much going on at the same time. For me, it gets to a point where I no longer know what I should or shouldn’t pay attention to. As a result, everything comes to a standstill, and I am forced to take a break. But the good thing is that it helps me gather my thoughts and ideas into something coherent, instead of the screaming, blurred mess that it was. And when I say I do nothing, I mean nothing.
How it can help you: A short recharge period is necessary for all of us, whether we’re going through a creative block or not. Sitting silent and gathering your thoughts for a while will help you understand yourself and your work better. Sorting out your ideas into categories in your head as you relax is a great way to come up with possible ways to beat your creative block, too. By doing nothing, you’re actually giving yourself the time and space you’ll need to come up with something new and better!
5. WRITE YOUR IDEAS DOWN.
How it helps me: I have pages full of ideas written down for what kind of content I want on this blog, prompts for my poems, ideas to sketch, and a bunch of things I want to do. It helps me just pick one when I hit a creative block, and begin working on it. While it might not turn out to be a really good piece of work, it does get me warmed up to make something better. It’s like a test run of sorts, when you think of it. I get an idea on what I want to be working on, and eventually, I start making random things without any planning ahead.
How it can help you: Writing down your ideas gives you a map of all the things that you’d possibly like to do. It’s the artist’s version of throwing darts at a map and travelling to wherever the pin lands. It’s going to help you sort things out and make it a lot easier for you to break out of a creative block, all because you’ve already got an idea of what you want to do. Even if it isn’t really a fully fleshed-out idea, you’ll find that your abstract prompts can lead you somewhere better than you intended when you first wrote them down.
These are just a bunch of things that work for me, and I hope they help you out in case you’re going through a creative block. If you have any preferred ways to beat a creative block, feel free to mention them in the replies! I would love to know all about it.
Happy creating! Xx