Creativity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more creative you are — but it can get overworked and give out. You’ve probably had times when your brain feels like it has runs out of energy and you hit the mental breaks. You might stare off at your paper or computer screen and wait for the ideas to appear magically. Sometimes it can go on for weeks — you might start to doubt yourself altogether. So how can you overcome a creative block when inspiration is at zero?
Hitting a creative slump can occur because of many factors, like burnout or lack of inspiration. While it might feel like you’ll never get out of it, you can do things that re-ignite your creative side. Here are ways to overcome a creative block.
Switch Up Your Routine
Getting stuck in a routine can start to feel bland and prevent you from finding inspiration. When you aren’t experiencing anything new, you’re left without any creative inspiration in the future. Instead, you should challenge yourself to a new routine that switches things up.
If you tend to write on paper, try typing on your computer or working in a new environment outside of your office. Sometimes the most minor changes are just what you need to feel inspired again.
Over 60% of U.S. adults don’t engage in enough physical activity per week, often because they don’t have a sport or active hobby they enjoy. Finding a physical activity you like and incorporating it into your daily routine positively impacts the brain. It will help you get healthier physically, get the blood flowing to the brain and release endorphins that make you happy.
You might stop caring for yourself if you get into a creative slump. A daily routine that includes getting active might rejuvenate your mind and body to get your creative side flowing again.
Daydreaming is a great way to overcome your creative block. As long as you don’t go overboard, permitting your brain to relax and imagine scenarios could help resolve your problem. Instead of being stuck in the reality of where you are now, it allows you to zoom out and see the big picture from a broader perspective.
Daydreaming is something we often do when our minds wander doing something repetitive or mundane. It is why some of our best ideas may come in the shower or during a walk. Let yourself relax and see what comes to you.
Listen to Positive Music
Active musical engagement is associated with good cognitive function and higher rates of happiness. Music can also help with memory and learning. You’ll want to ensure you listen to the right type of music. Happy music increases divergent thinking and puts you in a good mood. Happy music can look different for everyone, so choose the type that lifts your spirits.
When you were younger, you might have doodled on the side of your notes as a form of expression. As you grow up, doodling becomes something of the past. However, doodling can help tap into a forgotten creative space of your brain when engaging with a new sense.
You don’t have to be good at drawing. Just start drawing whatever comes to mind. Try making things interesting by switching the pen from your dominant to your non-dominant hand.
Don’t Force It
If you lose your creative side, don’t sit in front of your screen hoping it returns. Embrace the
process instead of critiquing yourself. Although you are in a slump, it does not mean you can’t
produce good work at another point.
Accept what you’re going through as a temporary setback and find ways to overcome it while
being gentle with yourself. Take a step back and do something else in the meantime to give
yourself some space.
The Bottom Line
A creative block is bound to happen over time. Although it can be discouraging at the moment,
the ideas that bloom after it is over will be worth the wait.
Read the top ways to overcome a creative block and reignite your creative spark inside volume 3 of The Homeworker (print edition).
Find out all about the Design Thinking process inside Volume 4.
Why not bundle the two editions together?
About the author
Mia Barnes is a health freelance writer and researcher with a passion for workplace wellness and mental wellbeing. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind magazine, an online healthy living publication.