Have you ever tried writing a story, drawing, or composing music and nothing comes out?
It’s just you staring at the blank paper trying to force that incredible idea out and yet feels like something is blocking it?
Yes, that’s a creative block and it happens to everyone in the creative professions; artists, artistes, poets, writers.
Creative Blocks are barriers to your inner creativity, it’s like when the fuel that keeps you moving in your art suddenly dries, you can’t bring yourself to refuel it and create.
You just sit tired and can’t move from that mindset.
Some people get past the creative block and some don’t,so the best thing to do is to be aware of when,how and why it started and prevent it from returning.
The causes are mostly things that are familiar to us but unknowingly block our minds from creating ideas.
- Fear of Rejection
- Death of loved ones
- End of relationships
- Lack of financial support
- Self doubt pertaining to ability or talent
- Several rejection of one’s work
- Trying to be perfect in all works
- Fatigue from a previous tasking work
- Sudden loss of meaning/purpose in one’s work
- Dependence on substances to be creative
The different types and solutions of creative blocks that might occur to creatives includes:
- Mental Blocks:
This is when you are trapped by your own thinking and it’s the same monologue going in there forever.
Your inner critic locks fresh ideas from coming in and keeps stagnation in your mindset.
You try to look at the world differently but you are so used to that familiar viewpoint.
- Change your mindset by reading good books of a different genre.
- Listen to positive music that relaxes your thoughts.
- Watch motivating movies.
- Engage with people of likeminds who could help you view facts differently
- Visit new places, take relaxing walks, feel the environment by observing and appreciating the small things of nature.
- Emotional Barriers:
When you allow your emotions to control you it could block your creativity.
It could be the fear of the unknown,of revealing too much about yourself-painful, weird or embarrassing.
This could lead to you procrastinating and not creating any art.
- Choose a time, a quiet place to meditate,this helps you relax and control your emotions.
- Let go of past painful memories that might hinder your creativity.
- Stay away from activities that influence your emotions negatively.
- Work Habits That Don’t Work:
Sometimes it isn’t that you are creatively blocked, it could just be you trying to work in a way that isn’t compatible with your creative process-maybe you work early, late, or long hours.
Other times you don’t have time or inspiration to be creative, your mails, accounting, social media accounts might be interfering
- Pause for a while,take a good look at how you are working and where the pain points are, say your mail is affecting,work on your schedule to create free periods to handle it.
- Take breaks from work activities,this helps your brain to relax and prevent fatigue.
- Look for the right balances for routines, systems and spontaneity for your creativity to live.
- Personal Problems:
It’s quite difficult for you to concentrate on your art when you are facing a divorce, falling out with friends, dealing with kids, and grieving someone special.
These could affect your mindset and no matter how hard you try to create it might be fruitless because of lack of concentration and low interest.
- Take a short term break from work in order to resolve the issue and free yourself for the future. Then focus for an hour or two each day to get your creativity back.
- Engage with close ones who listen and could help you get yourself back together.
- Create an alone time for yourself and think about positive achievements and goals, try as much as possible not to allow your present state to influence your ‘alone time’.
This is when you have many commitments, great ideas and feel surprised or excited by the sheer volume of incoming demands and information, so you become weakened by the options and obligations.
You could also be tired from working hard for long.
Solution: Learn to say no to commitments that you can’t fulfill immediately.
If it’s ideas, execute some and write down the rest in a folder, you could go back to it later.
For information overload, start blocking off downtime and create time for your arts.
This isn’t about cash though a perennial problem for creatives.
You could also be time, knowledge poor, have a shaky network, be short of equipment, and other things you need to get the job done.
Solution: Save up the time, This and other resources you need and make a virtue of necessity.
Set yourself the creative challenge of achieving as much as possible within the constraints you have.
- Communication Breakdown:
If you work in a team where you have difficult people it will be hard to put forward your best ideas because the environment will be tense, this can lead to creative block, and getting out will require you to get out of that tense zone to an environment that is friendly and communicative in nature.
- Accept you can’t please everyone all the time,so learn to grow a thick skin to negative criticisms and rejection.
- Work on your audience and understand their preferences then tailor your contents to it.
- Listen to feedback, especially the uplifting ones, not those that drain your energy.
Cultural And Environmental Blocks:
These works together, environmental blocks are built from the pieces of culture.
They are what distract you from your surroundings like your phones, people, activities, or situations.
Cultural blocks, on the other hand, are created by the attitudes and pressures we get from society and among our peers.We are brought up to build our identity around their expectations leading to an effect on our creative thinking.
- ‘We must be logical about this’:
Growing up, I have heard this statement over and over again. They tell us to be reasonable in our actions, thoughts, and words, leading to us limiting our imagination to be creative.
Well, logic solves problems but in creativity, a leap of imagination is needed.
This helps our minds to think freely and ideas flow in be it nonsense or reasonable.
- Role Stereotyping:
A lot of writers, artists, or artistes have been told that creativity is not possible without higher learning or degrees.
That’s just nonsense because most writers like Shakespeare didn’t have that advanced education and look how he turned out.
If you find yourself in this boat, try and free your mind from such thoughts because you can be creative without that.
You don’t need a block like that to stop your growth in creativity.
- “Fantasy, daydreams or playing are for kids”:
This statement alone has blocked a lot of minds from doing any productive work.
Who says you can’t write a good book by just daydreaming, relaxing your grown-up intuition, and playing?
Mary Shelly’s book Frankenstein was inspired by a dream, also Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
So,creative thinking requires you to be able to dream, fantasize,and play around with ideas, materials without feeling guilty.
- Asking questions or criticizing is wrong:
A lot of people’s mindset is locked because of this,they can’t seem to break out of that chain because all their years of growth, criticizing or asking questions wasn’t applauded.
They were to accept such and not break out of that rule.
How do you break out?
Learn to voice out your opinions when you need to and be open-minded.
Don’t limit your mind’s creativity to a particular cultural code because you learn when you are open and not blocked.
Simple ways to get your creativity flowing includes:
- Tap into your subconsciousness
- Keep a notebook or sketchbook
- Put some fun in your studio or work place
- Finish what you started
- Expect the unexpected
- Go against the flow
- Explore other creative disciplines
- Grab some ‘you time’
- Take notes on life
- Sleep on it when you can
- Be open to see things differently.
Creative blocks aren’t something to be scared about,it happens to everyone at any point in their lives and understanding the type that occurs to you, walking through it and not allowing it to reoccur will be helpful in your art.