The creative block often happens to designers when they are in a rut and their mind is running low on inspiration.
Since it's very difficult to find the cure for oneself, this article will walk you through how to overcome the creative block as a designer.
Here are 9 easy-to-follow steps you can use to help get you out of the block.
In order for you to overcome your creative block, it is essential that you understand what a Creative Block is when compared with other types of blocks such as mental/physical blocks.
The Three Types Of Blocks
a) Mental Block
A mental block often happens when we are unable to solve problems mentally because our minds had been running too fast or having too many thoughts racing inside our head. It happens to us most often in maths and languages classes when we are given number problems, grammar problems, and solving anagrams. We would be stuck in a state where we know there's only one answer but not able to find out ourselves how to arrive at the answer or just simply do not know how to think properly.
b) Physical Block
A physical block occurs when our body is lacking in some kind of energy which we need to continue working/practicing and at times this could be due to exhaustion or simply lack of sleep.
c) Creative Block
A creative block refers to an inability to come up with a new creative thought or idea. Unlike the two above, is not because you can't find the answer but it's because you're having a hard time coming up with good ideas or too many distractions are stopping your train of thoughts from continuing forward.
Here are 10 steps to overcome creative block:
1. Go for a walk
Take a walk outside and breathe in the fresh air. Even just take a stroll around the block while doing nothing but observing your surroundings.
A walk may seem like an ordinary and simple step but sometimes it can be very effective in clearing your thoughts and getting back into 'the zone.
The main reason why this works is that it gets your body moving so the blood flow flows more freely and slowly releases energy that was trapped inside your body due to exhaustion.
When thinking or imagining, using physical activity not only signifies new ideas from outside sources but also helps speed up any potential solutions within our brain thus able to free from the creative blocks for some. For example, see how Michelangelo came up with the idea of David just by staring at a brick.
2. Do some exercises
Exercises are also useful in helping us to relax our body and they help boost up our energy levels through physical activity which keeps your mind going because it needs more fuel in the form of oxygen and nutrients to function properly.
So when you're tired, do some simple exercises such as stretching/yoga, jumping jacks, or brisk walking and you'll feel much lighter after that. You can even go for sports such as cycling if you like one on one kind of sport or playing against yourself with a ball on an empty court using dribbling skills (having fun is optional).
Doing exercises is not only good for boosting up your energy and stamina but can also help you to be more creative because it gets your mind more alert and ready for action.
3. Take a nap
Taking a 15-20 minute nap is great for resetting your brain from the mental block since getting some shut-eye not only gives you enough sleep energy to function well, it helps you to dream which analyzes things from a different perspective and leads to better ideas when we awake.
Many successful people take naps every day such as Isaac Newton who woke up with an exciting idea of gravity or Thomas Edison who had many naps that led him to invent things like the light bulb. We may not have the luxury of our own personal beds/rooms but we do have places like libraries where you can sit down and take a quick nap.
4. Have some fun
You may be thinking of having fun as something that's not productive or just to release some stress but sometimes it can lead you to get back on track in case of blockage so do things such as playing board games, reading the newspaper (don't fall asleep though), exercising/watching sports, cleaning your room, etc.
These activities can help enhance your creativity by increasing your productivity and making you feel lighthearted which will keep your thoughts away from those negative feelings like boredom/boredom/exhaustion etc. Even being with friends can somehow influence you positively because they'll give you good ideas for impressing them later when hanging out with them again or asking for their opinions about your work.
5. Draw a picture of your problem or issue
Drawing something is actually one of the easiest methods for getting back into 'the zone especially if you create art every day such as doodling/sketches/drawings etc because it will get your hands moving and let the blood flow further freely to speed up new ideas that are trapped inside your brain.
Drawing can sometimes give us great insights on how to solve difficult problems; artists use many drawings as experiments before they come out with their final drafts so why not try this method? You don't need good drawing skills at all; just scribble down some lines, circles, dots, squares, etc on a piece of paper using any type of pencil or pen and then leave it aside for a while and come back to have another look.
The new mark/object you added in your drawing would lead you to another thought that could spark a solution or idea into your brain; after all, the more we draw, the more our minds are stimulated by creating interesting things out of the boring blank paper which then leads us to think about other ways of doing things differently. So doodle away!
6. Don't find the cause of the block
Don't think too hard about what is causing the block, oftentimes being stuck with no idea how to overcome it can cause more frustration and stress in thinking that there's nothing you can do about it. The truth is, there are many ways to overcome a creative block and you should not think of it as an impenetrable wall but more like a bump on the way that needs getting over with.
Sometimes thinking too deeply about it could end up in worse frustration and stress which will cause you to go even further away from overcoming your block instead of getting closer to it.
Meditation clears your head quickly without giving much effort unlike taking a walk around the block or sitting down outside for hours doing nothing. Just sit still, clear your mind, and be relieved from all kinds of stresses filling up inside your head, and then let yourself meditate.
It'll help you take back control of your brain again especially when it has been running around in circles and you can't seem to find the right path anymore.
8. Watch a movie/TV show
This is what I usually do when my creative block hits me hard since most of us are very attached to our creativity so being hit by a block feels like being stabbed repeatedly in the gut. A good way to look at it would be that it's not just happening to you but also to other people out there who are stuck on trying to solve problems or looking for inspiration.
Watching movies, TV shows will help lower your stress level as well as distract your mind from all the negative feelings which could inhibit your ability to think freely and creatively again. You get new ideas from reading books too but they can be overwhelming sometimes (in my case usually) since I'm not good at reading books, the subtitles keep moving and always miss out on the dialogue.
9. Work with the bad idea
You can't create a masterpiece immediately after getting inspired by something. You may come up with bad ideas at first and you shouldn't let it discourage you from trying again until you find that one unexpectedly good idea hidden in the midst of clutter.
So what do you think is best to overcome creative block?
I hope that this blog post has helped you think of different ways to help yourself get over your creative block. If you're stuck with no ideas, just keep moving, try something new, and don't let it stop you from doing what you love.
If you would like to know how to create a killer portfolio, check this