Artists and writers are not machines. There is no switch that can be turned on to make them suddenly start producing original works. There are times when even a productive artist becomes uninspired and unable to continue their work. Writers have named this condition writer’s block. It also affects painters, musicians, actors, dancers and anybody who relies on inspired creativity.
There is hope. Victims of this creative block, who have found a way to break through, have shared some of their techniques. If you experience this malady, the first thing is to acknowledge that it is a normal situation experienced by almost every artist. Realizing that this is common takes the pressure off. Artists who put more and more pressure on themselves make the matter worse. Effort is not the solution.
1. Take a break.
One of the most common suggestions to escape your malady is to take a break. You need to take time off and permit yourself to relax, guilt-free. Realize that this is just a phase that will pass. Try to avoid thinking about your creative endeavours.
Do something that is completely different than the task you are working on. Variety is a very important part of creating productivity. Go for a walk, or read a book. Make sure you are relaxing! This is one of the best ways to get the creative energies flowing.
2. Get some sleep.
Part of taking a break is having a good night sleep. Allow yourself to rest peacefully without distracting thoughts. The goal is to wake up feeling rested, serene and content, in a state that allows the creative juices to flow. While the problem may lie beyond rest alone, having the right amount of rest is certainly not going to harm you.
3. Use it if you have it!
Another suggestion is to capitalize on the situations where you tend to be most inspired. Quite frequently, people receive bolts of inspiration while they are sleeping or daydreaming. Be prepared to write down these ideas while they are still fresh in your mind. Have a notebook beside your bed or with you during the day to capture your ideas whenever they come to you.
Recall times in the past when you have been particularly creative and try to recreate that environment. This may have been a place of work or even a state of mind. Take a look at your current environment and ensure that there aren’t any unnecessary distractions. You need to be able to get lost in your work without interruption.
4. Try free writing.
Writers use a technique to kick-start their creativity called free writing. Painters can do a similar thing by quickly sketching or painting ideas without any attention to quality. Musicians can simply begin to improvise and create music quickly while trying to minimize the thought that goes into it. This technique is like ‘priming the pump.’ The goal is to produce something, anything, with the minimal amount of effort.
Performing a similar activity is sometimes the best way to get the process going. If you are having trouble writing a specific assignment, try doing some recreational writing as a warm up. Write a blog post, or simply jot down your thoughts at the moment. Sometimes the simple process of writing anything down can get you started on where you need to be.
In many cases, this is enough to get the creative machine working. Another similar approach is to try being creative in other ways. A writer could try drawing, or a musician could try writing. The idea is that the creative part of the brain begins working one way or the other.
5. Exercise can help.
A cure for creative block also happens to be a cure of many other problems a person may have – exercise. Physical exercise has been proven to release chemicals that bring the brain and body to a state of peak performance.
Simply going for a one hour walk may be enough to allow you to return to the drawing board with a renewed source of inspiration. Exercise, especially in the outdoors, puts you in a different frame of mind that is better for working effectively. While exercising, give yourself some positive self-talk. Build yourself up and recall all the great work you have done in the past. You will do it again.
6. Focus on the process.
It is often easy to get bogged down by thinking ahead to the final product. You know what you have to do, but it seems like such a long way off! Don’t let this happen. Get yourself organized, and work towards solving the process one step at a time.
Break your project down into parts. Every project, after all, is just a series of parts that work together to create a whole. Once you have organized yourself by doing this, start accomplishing one thing at a time. Before you know, all the small things will add up to the final project!
7. Get away.
Sometimes one of the biggest reasons you are suffering from creative block is that you are feeling overwhelmed with everything that is going on around you, or that you are not inspired by what is around you. Having a change of scenery can be exactly what you need to get back on track!
Go on a camping trip to find yourself at one with nature, or try travelling to a new city or even country. By doing so, you may find yourself out of your creative funk!
There are times when an artist or writer has a high level creative and it seems to come naturally. They experience a state of mind some people call flow. They are able to express themselves through their art quickly and with little effort. Then, for various reasons, this flow heads into a tailspin. It is as if they have come up against a wall blocking their creativity with no obvious way to get through. The harder the artist tries, the worse the block becomes. They are left staring at a blank slate, so to speak. This leads to discouragement and has them questioning their worth as an artist.
Creative block is like getting your car stuck in mud. The more you spin your wheels, the worse the situation gets. In the classic film, The Shining, a horrific case of writers block was depicted in which the writer typed “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” over and over for days and weeks. Each and every time the writer typed out those words, the more toxic his situation became. The techniques given here were sure needed in that case! Take a break, or try getting away. Your creativity will be back before you know it.