Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Overcoming Creative Block

You sit down to work on your latest project all fired up, excited about the possibilities, then proceed to stare blankly at the computer screen for an hour. Yep, you’ve got a creative block. Creative block is intimately similar to the all-to-familiar “writer’s block”, but is a much broader definition, encompassing all creative types. You can’t seem to focus your thoughts, nothing comes to mind that you can grab onto and run with, everything seems blank and crappy.

This is actually the easiest problem to beat out of my list, as creative block is typically an immediate threat and not a chronic habit. Of course, repeated bouts could quickly lead to the more permanent habit of procrastination. Here are several techniques to try to overcome this obstacle:

Just keep moving.

The key here is to get momentum on your side. Even if you can’t focus on your chosen goal, just get started on something. Doodle on a piece of paper, write a short poem, and visualize your favorite movie with you in the lead. The idea is to keep your mind working in some creative way. Sometime the blank paper or screen can just be too overwhelming. If you can find a way to start putting something out, you can then move your focus onto the main project. It is easier to direct your creative flow once you get it moving, then to try and hit the mark from a standstill.

Look for inspiration.

When I can’t find the right idea to solve a particular problem I’m working on, I turn to the Internet. I’ll look to other’s work to get my creative juices flowing. Looking at beautifully designed sites, painting, books, etc. can give you ideas for your own projects. One must be wary though not to get so caught up that you spend all your precious time admiring other’s work and never get to create for yourself.

Start by copying.

If you’re really stuck, try imitating a design you like. I find if I try to copy or remake a website I think is great, it usually ends up being something of my own anyway. I will learn from the example but ultimately my own creativity finds its way in and I’ll end up with something new and wonderful. By starting with a finished design, I don’t have to worry about coming up with a totally original idea. Eliminating this requirement makes it easy to get moving.

Walk away.

Sometime you can’t force it. By walking away from your work, by going and doing something else, you allow your subconscious mind to work on the problem. You may find that inspiration will strike if you let you mind have a little space to work.


Working with a partner or by group brainstorming is a great way to inspire new ideas or to flesh out the ones you are working on.
Hopefully, this has given you good tips on how to overcome and move past your creative blocks and onto the task of making your dreams a reality.

Happy Creating.

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