Inspiration Station: 3 Strategies to Beat Creative Block

I’m taking a break from my “Get Social” series this week to talk about a topic that’s close to my heart: creative block. Creative block is a real struggle for most creatives. Writers, bloggers, artists – anyone who “makes” for a living can fall prey to it. 

Imagine: you’ve been hard at work on something for weeks, months, sometimes even years, and one day you sit down to get started and…nothing. You try to push through, but you don’t like anything you make. And then you get frustrated because you know you need to work, but nothing feels right. Sound familiar?

Frankly, that’s been my life for the past few weeks. I’m still getting projects done, but sitting down to make content (either for this blog or social media) has felt like pulling teeth. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve felt this way at some point or another in your life.

So how do you hop off the Struggle Bus and get back into the Productive Nation? Well, I like to visit a little place I like to call my “Inspiration Station”, and pick something to do to get the creative juices flowing. And today, I’m sharing some of my best strategies with you.

Important Note: Don’t be fooled by the name – not all of these activities require being stationary.

Get Online (5-30 Minutes)

If you only have a few minutes to tap into your creative side, my best tip is to get out your computer and get online. And I don’t mean check Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social media site you usually fall prey to.

Watch a YouTube video by a creator you like (my personal fave is Casey Neistat). Read a few blog posts. If you’re an artist/maker/designer, check out Bēhance or Dribbble. If you really feel you can go on without falling prey to a timesuck, check out Pinterest or Tumblr.

The most important part of getting online is to get outside of your niche. Once you’ve done that, pop on a playlist (8tracks and Spotify rarely let me down on this front) or some of your favorite tunes and get back to work. If that doesn’t work, or you have more time…

Get Outside (30-60 Minutes)

This may be a highly stereotypical answer, but there’s a good reason why: it works. Getting out of the space where you usually work does wonders for getting those creative juices going. And, before you ask, running errands doesn’t count.

Exercise is your best bet here. A lot of people like to go for a walk or a run, and often use this to start their day on the right foot. Yoga and pilates are other popular options. I personally like going swimming. If you choose to exercise, make it a type of exercise you actually like to do, otherwise, you won’t go.

If you don’t feel like exercising, go pick up a coffee/tea/smoothie and read a book for a bit. Go window shopping (or actual shopping if your budget allows). Visit a nearby museum. Go for an absolutely aimless drive. Anything to get you out of your workspace and get your mind off your work for a few minutes.

The most important part of getting outside is getting away from your work and thinking about something else for a while. Once you've done that, try getting back to work. If that doesn’t work, or you have more time…

Get Hands-On (60+ Minutes)

If you are really struggling with tapping into your creativity and have a decent amount of time, I highly suggest crafting.

Try something you’ve always wanted to try. For me that was knitting. For you, that could be an adult coloring book, a collage, crochet, painting, hand-lettering, papier-mâché, or any other craft that floats your boat. If you need some inspiration, check out Elsie Larson’s (from A Beautiful Mess) “Craft Night” Pinterest board.

The most important part of getting hands on is occupying a different part of your brain that you aren’t ordinarily using.

Getting Creative

Moral of the story? If you’re feeling a creative block, you need to create space between you and your uninspired workspace. When you do that, you occupy a different part of your mind and allow other parts of your brain to work. This unlocks new potential as opposed to retracing the same ol’ pathways.

Think about it. There’s a reason why so many great thoughts come to you in the shower.

It never hurts to try something new, but if you have strategies that work, or find that these ideas don’t work for you, it’s okay to keep experimenting until you find something that does. And remember, these are my best suggestions for getting rid of creative blocks – things that work for me don’t be afraid to innovate.

What are your favorite methods of getting past creative blocks? Let me know in the comments!