Call it what you want mind, mental or creative block, it’s something that many of us have experienced. And when faced with such a dilemma, instead of feeling inspired to overcome such a problem, many of us retreat and spiral into a panic filled with worry about how we’ll miss a deadline, never come up with an idea etc.
Yet, creative block is something which happens to even the most experienced and talented creatives. So, if you’re sat there thinking you’ve run out of ideas, don’t panic. It’s probably happened to some of the world’s best entrepreneurs or design creatives at one point or another too.
So, whether you’re faced with a blank Photoshop document, wondering how is best to edit a video or stuck for a new website design, help is at hand. We’ve spoken to a number of industry experts to get their view on how to overcome a creative set-back.
Do something different
When faced with a looming deadline and a blank page, so to speak, the fear can really begin to set in. With no idea and time not on your side, it’s easy to go into breakdown mode and become chained to your desk, but this can actually stifle any creativity.
Take a step back and do something completely different. Whether it’s changing work task or doing something for yourself, taking a breather will allow you to relax and creativity to strike.
It’s something which Start Communication agree with too, as they said they “switch off what they are doing and make a cup of coffee or walk the dog around the block. Anything just to get a clear head before they start again.”
Create a fun environment
If your office or workspace is particularly uninspiring, then if you can’t change it, go somewhere which is more inspiring.
A space filled with natural light will help to keep senses alive, and adding plants was found to enable computer-related tasks to be completed 12% quicker. Add texture to your workspace too – one which is bland and lacklustre is unlikely to inspire, while one which combines different elements and is more playful in its design will help to keep you more alert as there’s always something new to look at.
Based on research, yellow tones are found to be a bright and optimistic influence, while reds and oranges had energetic and active connotations. For a calming influence look to greens, blues and purples as these are tranquil, calm and fresh.
Always carry a notebook
The age-old classic tip of jotting down an idea when something pops into your head – keep one at your bedside, on your desk and in your bag. Taking note of an idea (no matter how crazy) will give you a little black book of inspiration which you can look back on when you’re stuck for an idea.
You never know when an idea may strike, and even if you don’t need it right now, you never know when you may need it in the future.
Kirsten Rees from Make me a Success finds that “writing instead of typing is great for sparking creativity again.”
A blank page is far more daunting than one which has already been started. Free-writing is a practice which is proving to be particularly popular, where you fill a page with words and see what you get, you can then refine and edit it later to leave you with a polished final piece.
Or if you’re mind mapping this technique will allow you to connect the dots between each of your points as they will be clear to see when written down.
Continue to learn
To avoid your career becoming stagnant, skillset outdated and keep creativity and enthusiasm for what you do alive, you should continue to learn new techniques or courses to refresh your skillset.
There’s always something new to learn, especially in the creative world. So, even if you think you know everything there is to with an Adobe program, website design or animation there’s probably a hack or update that you haven’t heard of which can help to give you a fresh perspective on how you complete a task or begin a project.
Listen to music
Many of us are likely to listen to music while we work, but some forms are found to be better for productivity than others.
Listening to your favourite lyrical artist could prove a hindrance to output, as music with words has been found to be a distracting source.
Instrumental music was found to be the most inspiring music, allowing individuals to focus on the task at hand as it provided less distractions and soothing tempo to work alongside.
Nadia at Cottage Notebook said that “listening to different music helps to shift my current mood” allowing creativity to follow.
So, switch up your playlist. If you’re not willing to forgo your usual musical tastes then see if they have an instrumental version of your favourite song – Spotify has it all!
Look at how children will come up with the most imaginative games and adventures from something as simple as a cardboard box – this kind of natural creativity stems from a playfulness and fearlessness that nothing is wrong. And while we aren’t suggesting you need to crawl into a cardboard box to become creative, lose your inhibitions and take time to become inspired.
So, whether you doodle, draw or paint – doing something creative which allows you to switch off can allow the solution to arrive at your door much quicker than if you were to sit and worry about it.
Look to other industries
Sometimes the best solutions and inspirations come from looking to other industries. While the phrase ‘think outside of the box’ may be a little overdone, it does hold a lot of truth.
Instead of being confined to seeking inspiration in your industry or world of work, look elsewhere. Whether you turn to film, fashion, signage, photography, typography, art or drama – the list is endless as to where you get inspiration from.
James Speyer from Exposure Ninja comments “you can find inspiration in the strangest places. Immerse yourself in outlets of creative content — blogs, online magazines, social media, video sharing websites — and try to envision your content combined with the ideas, concepts and angles of other creatives.”