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How to overcome creative block

Two minds, one suffering from creative block and one full of ideas

Ever found yourself staring at a blank page, your mind as vacant as the blank document in front of you? Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

As a Designer within AB’s creative team, I’ve experienced moments of creative block countless times. And we’ve all been there, right?

Working through those days where inspiration seems to be playing a game of hide-and-seek with your imagination can be difficult. Stress, burnout, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and the absence of inspiration are just a few of the many triggers for creative block.

That’s why we’ve created a list of tips and tricks to smash through creative barriers and guide you towards brilliance – many of these have helped me personally during my career.

Tips on overcoming creative block

Here are six ways to break through the creative block in your work:

1. Take a break

Whether it’s cooking, showering, or even getting an early night, taking yourself away from your desk and returning with a fresh pair of eyes can help generate new ideas. Whilst your mind is occupied on your current activity in hand, the problem is still being worked on by your subconscious, often creating a refreshing solution.

Side note: When removing yourself from your desk ensure that you keep a notepad near you. Creative thoughts and ideas may not come to you during your normal 9-5 working day. Having a notepad (or an app on your phone) to write down those great ideas that come to you when you are most inspired is a great way to not forget them.

2. Exercise

Exercise is a double win. Not only are you getting the benefits of being away from your desk (as mentioned above), but you also get the benefits that exercise gives. Exercise releases endorphins, which reduces anxiety and helps you to focus.

The connection between exercise and an increase in creativity has been scientifically proven in a study by Stanford in 2014. According to the study, there was a 60% increase in creativity when a person is walking on a treadmill, compared to someone sat working at their desk.

3. Get inspired

Researching similar work can be very inspiring and help you see things from a different perspective. Whether it’s searching online, reading a book, browsing articles, or seeing how other people have approached this challenge can help generate ideas. This may even be because you disagree with what they have done which helps make the solution clear to you.

These creative outlets don’t even need to relate to what you are doing. Sometimes diving into a fantasy book or engrossing yourself in an alternate dimension in a film can help you open your mind to inspiration.

4. Mind map ideas – good and bad!

Get all your ideas down on paper, whether they’re good or bad. Writing things down at the start of the project means you’ve broken through the first hurdle… starting. This step doesn’t need to be perfect, the act alone of starting means you’re a step closer to creative genius.

Jotting down thoughts can also help you snowball ideas and explore areas you may not have thought of yet. There are lots of creative idea generation tools to help you think outside the box, for example word association. These may not be solutions, but these thoughts can get the creative juices flowing to break through the creative block.

5. Collaborate

Ask others for input and suggestions, and bounce ideas off each other. Sometimes, these ideas may not even be the answer, but they can help propel you into a path of creativity. It can be a colleague in the same field of work, or even friends and family for a fresh, external perspective.

Sometimes, even when talking to someone who is not an expert (or even has any knowledge) in this field, you may stumble across the answer on your own whilst taking them through the brief. 

6. Don’t give up

The most important point of all is to keep going. It may feel like you may never get out of this creative slump, but you’re steps away from making something incredible. You may need to repeat a few of these steps a couple of times, but that’s okay.

The journey out of creative block is different for everyone. You know what they say; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself time, keep coming back to it, and you’ll get there.

Still struggling with creative block?

Don’t worry – we’re here to help. Our dedicated creative team can help your business unleash its full creative potential!

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