You know when everything just feels sucky? When life feels blah? When everything you create ends up in the trash and you simply cannot bring yourself to do anything, even though your playlist of motivational music is on and you have your big cup of coffee beside you?
Chances are you’re experiencing a creative block. It happens to all of us and can strike at any moment – whether we are students, graphic designers, writers or inventors. The cause can be anything and everything and whatever the reason and “symptoms” of this dreaded state are, we all have one thing in common: It’s tough, and we all need a little help.
It’s often very hard to remember the things that can help us, and even harder to be rational when we’re in the middle of this state of emotional chaos. As someone who has faced creative blocks many times, here are some tools I’ve found helpful when trying to break the barriers down:
Reading is very undemanding and does not require achievement or creativity. You get to breathe life and beauty into your soul and expand your thinking by seeking new ideas.
Allow Yourself To Feel:
Being in a creative block makes us very vulnerable and so we need to be kind to ourselves. Saying that you aren’t good enough and saying that you feel like you’re not good enough are two different things, and I truly believe in the healing power of the latter. Allowing yourself to feel is healthy; pain demands to be felt.
Invest In Yourself:
It’s easy to forget ourselves when we’re frustrated and not feeling our best, which is kind of ironic since we need it so very much. Rashon Carraway says: “Invest in yourself, you can afford it. Trust me.“
Take care of you. Make eating breakfast a priority. Take a long hot bath. Write in your journal. Do something you love that doesn’t have to do with your creative profession or what you’re currently struggling with creating.
Talk To Someone:
It’s amazing what talking out loud can do. Go to someone who respect and cares about you, it will help you sort your thoughts and you get to see your situation from a loved one’s perspective. If you don’t have a friend to trust your thoughts and worries, a good therapist can be worth more than gold.
Sleep deprivation makes you really sensitive and vulnerable to hardships. Try scheduling in sleep or turning off your electronic devices before 10pm. If you’re having a hard time falling asleep at night due to anxiety or other medical reasons, take naps during the day, it will make a difference.
Try stepping away instead of dwelling on what’s not working. “I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me.” – Ben Skinner
If you’re spending your days at the same places every day it can be a good idea to change environment. Familiarity can be comfortable, but can also generate boredom and lack of inspiration. Brief escapes like walks, change of ways to/from work and working at a café or the library instead of the home office can be motivating, invigorating and calming.
Instead of resisting the block at all costs, try to see what happens if you just let it happen!
As the amazingly talented illustrator Ashley Goldberg reflects: “If it is a bigger creative block, I try to ride it out and just let it happen. I will still draw, but most pieces will end up in the trash, and that’s OK. I think some of the biggest bursts of creativity and artistic growth I’ve had are usually preceded by a big creative block.”
Did you find any of these tools helpful? What helps you? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
– image by: Briana Carrion