Creative blocks are rarely baseless. Often, they stem from real issues that occupy a creator’s mind and drain his or her creative energy. While artists who create for fun can take a break when reality demands it, those in creative fields have no choice but to try to find a crack in the wall and tunnel through.
Like spinning tires in a ditch on a rainy day, getting out of a creative rut can be challenging, but there are ways to reclaim your creativity when life tries to run away with it.
Getting in touch with nature is a time-honored way of channeling creativity, and a study by the University of Kansas, as reports the Huffington Post, backs up the nature-creativity connection. Even adding plants to your office space increases the creative flow. If you can’t take the time to recharge in the woods, get to the nursery and invest in a floral office companion.
Enjoy your own work.
It’s not egotistical to appreciate your own work. Those of us who create do so because we like our mediums. We paint, write or sew what we would like to see, read, or wear. When you’re blocked, there is no better work to study than your own. Your old ideas can lead to fresh ideas, and you’ll remind yourself you’ve completed works in the past.
Delve into your craft.
When you can’t pinpoint why you’ve hit the rut in your creativity, it may be because you’ve reached a boundary in your skill set. By working to increase your capabilities throughout your career, you expand your niche and have new directions when you feel one path blocked.
If you’re a writer, check out Writer’s Digest’s articles on writing, or try a few Creative Writing Prompts to help get your juices flowing. If you’re a freelance photographer, enhance your photography by studying the photography tips at iStockPhoto.com. If you’re a Web designer, try a different programming language.
No matter what field you’re in, you should be able to find some free tutorials online. Study up to improve the skills you have or add to them.
Free your mind.
It sounds counterproductive, but when you focus too hard on a problem, you may block yourself. Stress is an enemy of creativity. When you feel blocked, the worst thing you can do is stew on it, worry about what it means for your project, and how your inability to get your work done will impact your financial future.
Get up and do other things. Go for a bike ride, run an errand, or take that shower you’ve been putting off for days because you were in the zone. Let your mind wander. Often, it will come back to your project on its own.
Post a public deadline.
We may create out of love, but when we turn our art into careers, we know deadlines are part of the deal. A deadline gives us a timeframe, which means we have to get through that wall one way or another. It’s like the sports world’s equivalent of “playing through the pain”. It may not be your best work, but some projects just need to get done.
If just thinking about a deadline when you’re blocked makes you freeze up even more, consider this: according to the Harvard Business Review, there is good and bad pressure when it comes to creativity. Good pressure is created by an optimally challenging project – a project that is difficult, but that you have the skills to complete. If you work in a creative field, you have the skills to get through your block and get your project done on time. A deadline simply forces you to put them to use in a timely manner.