As all creative people will know, there are times when you just can’t seem to focus on what you want to do; when all your creative juices have dried up and you’re left wondering what exactly is happening and how to fix it. These creative blocks are mostly dealt with in one of two main ways: working through them, or taking a break and doing something else for a while.
Take a break
Most people agree that taking a break is the best option. Trying to work through your block can be a difficult and stressful process, but if your work depends on your creativity, sometimes you simply have no choice. Looming deadlines and the thought of not being paid are not the most helpful things for your creativity, and if you decide to carry on working despite feeling distinctly uncreative, you run the risk of going in circles and getting nowhere. However, help is at hand. Even just a few minutes of distraction could clear your mind enough for you to feel enthusiastic about whatever project you’re stuck on.
In much the same way that everybody has different likes and dislikes, people will get over creative blocks using different techniques:
Some like to look through the work of their peers and idols. By looking at work that is imaginative and inspiring, you’ll hopefully come across something which sparks your interest and gets your own creativity flowing again. Just be wary of getting frustrated by all the great work you’re looking at, and not being able to use it as fuel for your own project.
Do something different
Others prefer to drop whatever they’re working on and do something different for a while instead. Whether it’s going for a walk, reading a book or doing some chores you’ve been avoiding for a while, if it distracts your mind briefly then chances are it could help you. This method can be a great way of dealing with creative blocks as you’re also getting other stuff done at the same time, but care should be taken that you don’t cross over the line from busting a block into procrastination. It’s all very well to distract yourself for a little while, but if you find yourself doing everything under the sun before getting back to whatever you were stuck on, then perhaps it’s time to buckle down and try to work through the block a bit more.
Move somewhere different
There are also people who prefer to work through their blocks, or don’t have the luxury of taking a break from their work. For them, a good solution can be to move somewhere different for a while and carry on working. The beauty of laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots and modern working ethic often means that you can move somewhere different but still have access to everything you need for work. Your favourite café, a park or even just a different room in your house / office area could give you that little boost you need to continue with your work and get rid of the creative block.
Try your design skills in the kitchen
If none of the above works well for you and you’re still feeling completely uncreative in one area, you can get yourself feeling creative again by trying out new things. If you’re a designer, try a small craft project, or some creative cooking. Bento boxes are based on Japanese packed lunches where you create pretty layouts for your food. It might sound daft, but creating a tasty lunch for yourself and arranging/decorating it to look like a nice scene (or whatever else you fancy) could get those ideas rolling. You can then share your creation on a variety of picture based social networks like Flickr, Instagram, and Twitpic. If this sounds a bit radical or you don’t like to cook, try something smaller – maybe a handmade birthday card or making up a song with lyrics – anything could inspire you, even if you would never normally try it. And who knows, you might find a new hobby whilst you’re at it!
As a final note, the best thing you can do if you’re experiencing some kind of creative block is to recognise it. Nobody can be creative 24/7. They’re a perfectly normal part of the creative process, however frustrating they may be: once you’ve accepted that you’re suffering a creative block, you can work on getting out of it. Too many people get caught in a vicious cycle – worrying about your creativity and why it’s currently nowhere to be seen will often only make things worse. This is why it’s so important for professional creatives to understand that these things happen, and in most circumstances will work themselves out if given enough time.