Flow is a state of being where a person is so lost and emotionally involved in an activity that time ceases to exist. It’s a place where you’re passionate and inspired to produce your best work.
But there are times when you try hard to put your best art, but nothing brilliant or creative comes out. In short, you’re suffering from a mendable condition known in creative circles as a creative block or an artist’s block.
Creative block is the last thing that you want to deal with when the client hovering over your head for the final designs for his print campaign.
Everyone deals with creative block differently. A website designer might go for an outdoor adventure to get going. An architect might walk around the metropolis to get inspired. A writer might turn the pages of his favourite book.
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula of getting rid of that creative rust.
So, if you’re down in the dumps, fret not, we have some bodacious tips to help you rise from the ashes of your creative block.
“If you want to be a good artist, you need to look at other artists, make much crappy art, and just keep working.” ~Sydney Pink
1. Try Digital Detox
“Walk away from the computer and draw.” ~Gerard Huerta
As designers, we create most of our work digitally, and this demands us to be glued to our computer screens. However, at times, all you need is a simple refresher.
My dad always advised me, ‘When you are stuck with something, walk away from it.’ You can apply this theory to everything.
From writing to designing, whenever you’re stuck with something, declutter your mind by moving away from your computer.
Ideas will flow. Innovation will happen. You’ll be amazed by how creative you can get by going for a walk.
For designers, the best thing is to start sketching. Grab a pen, paper, and start drawing whatever comes to your mind. Don’t overthink, start drawing. The act of drawing alone will give your brain a new perspective to think.
“Go wash dishes!” ~Kate Spade
Occasionally, try to do something completely different. When you get a creative block, it means that there are hurdles in your thoughts. To clear these hurdles, try to do something different.
It can be as small as washing dishes. When you wash dishes, you are not doing anything new. You are sub-consciously doing a repeated activity. This will give your mind a break and put it in a relaxed state.
It’s not necessary to do something unproductive. You can relax your mind while being productive. Organize books in your library, write down daily expenses, or reorganize your desk. Just break the rut and do something different to clear your cluttered mind’s cache.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
Sometimes the start is the most challenging part. Once you’re in rhythm, things get easy.
When there is something huge in front of you, the best approach is to break it down in small chunks. Moreover, deal with each chunk one step at a time. A series of small steps will establish motivation and clear-up space in your mind.
Big picture often paralyzes the artist. The only way to deal with it is to handle it in parts.
Seek new ways to manage a big project by dividing it into manageable chunks. You can tackle them one at a time, and the big picture will come together bit by bit.
“Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.” ~Chuck Close
Any creative undertaking requires waiting for that bolt of inspiration to strike. However, when you wait for it, you forget that creativity strikes when we work hard.
It’s so easy to procrastinate and leave out whatever seems complicated. The creative geniuses suggest that even if something seems impossible, dive your head into it. Every day show up and figure out new ways to achieve the desired result. There is a good chance that creativity will come along for the ride.
While it is not okay to use pressure every time creative block hits you, but the fear of deadline will surely pump the required adrenaline to unleash the genius within you.
Austin Kleon in his groundbreaking book, ‘Steal Like an Artist’ talks about setting deadlines, and that pushes you to go beyond creative block. Setting deadlines will reveal and expand your limits to achieve the new creative genius.
“I feel most creative if I have enough sleep.” ~Rei Kawakubo
A famous painter, Salvador Dali from the 1900s developed a napping hack to generate new ideas.
Dali would sit around with one arm on the armrest and other hanging with a metal key in hand, with an upside-down plate just beneath it.
As soon as Dali would doze off and start to fall asleep, the key would fall from his hands, hit the plate and wake him up from his nap.
At that moment, creative ideas would hit him.
Neuroscientists at the City University of New York found that taking a nap boosts a sophisticated type of memory that helps us see big-picture ideas and be more creative. The modern-day science tells us that taking regular naps around 60-90 minutes long can unleash the creative child genius within us.
Creative block happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks. By paying heed to the little yet effective pieces of advice that we have shared above, you’ll be back on track in no time. Whenever you’re stuck with the creative block, you can go through these tips and let the world to marvel at your creative genius.
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