The Positive Side of a Creative Block
The flow of creativity is a strange thing. Like precious a natural resource, it comes in waves – either a big rush or a slow trickle. A constant stream is a rare gift and can sometimes be taken for granted. The fact is, creative roadblocks can actually be a good thing. If you continue on the same path for too long, innovation is hindered and new solutions have next to no chance of seeing the light of day.
It’s the action of doing something new, something as simple as taking a different path to work or ordering a different meal – that can be the catalyst for reinvigorating creative mojo. You might not even know you lost it, or were even looking for it, but the feeling will be unmistakable – an ignition of your creative self.
Getting Creatively Un-Stuck
This might be the most obvious, but the hardest to accomplish. There’s a reason why adult coloring books are so popular. It doesn’t need to be an all out tech detox – and you don’t need to necessarily go zen. It can be an active exercise, even going for a walk can help to clear your head of distractions that can hinder the creative process. Truly innovative ideas need room to flow and develop. Disconnecting from sources that can steer ideas in less organic directions opens up a world of creative possibilities.
Listening is perhaps one of the most important aspects of regaining your creative mojo. Step back and stop doing, just be. The act of listening to both yourself and those around you can help tap into a self awareness that tends to solve an array of problems and solutions may become clearer.
Some say creativity comes out of chaos, but for many the opposite is true. From tightening up your routine, writing lists to finishing what you’ve started – a creative mind sometimes needs a blank slate.
Chances are, if something happens more than once, it works. Take note of patterns around you – either to solve problems or to discover a problem that needs to be solved. Patterns are the original true-isms, much like data, they don’t lie.
This is where it’s perfectly ok to indulge – go ahead, be an information junkie. Connect with like minded people around you, read blogs in your industry (and outside of it), go to art openings, read magazines, attend creative sessions like Creative Mornings. There are so many opportunities for enrichment, particularly in the creative fields, so get out there. Even if you are a bit of a wallflower, start with one event – even an online webinar or video stream like the recent Design+Agency put on by Invision.
Do something different. Shaking up your daily routine can reveal new and uncovered aspects of yourself and the world around. Challenge your perspective by going somewhere new, reading a new book. Disruption doesn’t always have to mean big change – in this case, small changes may have the power turn on the lightbulb.
The more ideas the merrier. We’ve waxed poetic about the benefits of collaboration, and that hasn’t changed. Particularly when working on an integrated project with multi facets, its important not to silo oneself when problems come up. If a team doesn’t collaborate throughout the life of a project, the end result will show it. Even if working alone, reach out to other creatives and those whose opinion you respect.
Sometimes creativity needs process. When left to it’s own devices, the creative mind can run amok, and while that can be a good thing, a set of general guidelines can steer you to the ideal outcome, and in less time – which for an antsy client, can be the best gift of all.
Simple, scrap the idea. If you hit a wall and it just won’t come down, sometimes the answer is not behind that door. There’s no sense in banging your head against a wall just to develop an idea that might not be meant to see the light of day.1