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Now Trending \ OCT 18th 2016

Getting Through a Creative Block

Whether you are an artist or writer, or a lawyer or restaurateur, you’ve got a super creative job to do: create an amazing online presence.

The web is an ever-shifting landscape and your website needs to be just as dynamic. You need to constantly tweak, improve, test and grow. So what to do when you’ve hit the proverbial wall and your great ideas have all but dried up? It’s called a creative block and it can suck the enthusiasm right out of you and leave even the most seasoned pros not knowing where to turn.

The key to releasing your creative floodgates might not be what you think. We’ve got 10 crazy ideas to get you unblocked!

Getting Through a Creative Block

 

Feel Free to Fail

Nothing induces panic as much as staring at a blank page. When your muse has packed up and hit the road, invite her back by allowing yourself to fail. Take the pressure off by lowering the bar and see what happens when you stop judging and start doing. If you can’t find one good idea, throw out 20 bad ones.

To begin, “dirty your canvas” whether it be with a splotch of paint, writing a stream of consciousness or by uploading your company logo to the website template you just opened. Get anything down as fast as possible and see where it takes you. Don’t get stuck on the idea of one single perfect solution, but instead sketch lots of ideas quickly without worrying about the execution. Striving to bomb may just be the best thing you can do for yourself.

Still not working for you? Here are 9 other tips that will surely dig you out of your rut.

Create Constraints

If you have kids you know that boundaries are a difficult yet sanity saving part of daily life. So it is with your creative work. Having too many choices or too much time can lead to an unfocused and scattered work process while working within a semi-rigid structure can create an environment of freedom and exploration. Put yourself in a box and then do your funkiest dance inside it.

How? Give yourself a deadline. This is especially hard if you’re your own boss or you’re working on a personal project. But inducing a bit of dread can be a strategic move to get your ideas flowing fast, and can help that first step of getting something down. Raise the stakes by informing your co-workers, friends or family of your impending deadline so you’ll be accountable to someone other than yourself.

Make Something Else

If your inspiration well has run dry, find another source. Drop your primary undertaking for the moment and take up a secondary “no pressure” creative project. Borrow an idea from Instagram or Pinterest or even give yourself a photo-a-day challenge.  It takes almost no time and you’ll receive the instant gratification of getting your creative juices flowing. If you made something worthy of a little social media love, use a hashtag to organize your project and see it’s progression. This new endeavor, no matter how small, will undoubtedly sharpen your eye and get you tuned into the beauty that is all around you.

Take a note from Nike … Just Do it

There is no better way to keep yourself from fulfilling your potential than just not doing it. Combat the creative wasteland that procrastination breeds by making a list of small attainable goals and ticking them off one by one.  There’s great satisfaction in completing something, and that self-esteem boost may be just what you need to get cracking on the primary work at hand.

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,” Isabel Allende

Unplug and Get Real

Every one of us suffers from technology overload. How many times will you be interrupted during the course of say, reading this article, by a text, email, call, Facebook notification, news headline, etc etc etc? The number of distractions we need to overcome in order to focus are staggering. Even if you’re using the internet to find inspiration, try to take a day (or more) and turn off, seeking inspiration instead from the real world. Go to a museum, zoo, bookstore, or head out to nature and come face to face with real, breathing, life.

“The physical world is ultimately the source of all inspiration”

While enjoying this off-line time, talk to people. Brainstorm with live humans and use them to bounce ideas off of. This will help you clarify and redefine the problem you’re struggling with and reshape your ideas.

Spark It Up

Whatever your medium, be it a journal, sketchbook or laptop, keep it close at hand and whenever an idea strikes, get it down asap. You never know when inspiration will hit, so make sure even when you’re on the treadmill, you’ve got a way to jot down those random and fleeting strokes of brilliance. Pro tip: Keep your notes dated in one long continuous log and periodically read through them to reacquaint yourself with your past explorations.

Spark It Up

Change Your Environment

Put down your pencil or mouse and step away from the computer. Turn around and walk 20 paces (or as many as it takes you to land somewhere else). Recommence work. If you’re used to working in an office or studio try moving to a buddy’s area. If you typically work from home, change rooms or pick up and stake your space somewhere else. Cafes, coffee shops, bookstores and libraries can offer stimulation that may be lacking in your primary work environment.

A bit of noise can also help advance creativity. Research has shown that a moderate level of ambient noise can actually enhance performance on creative tasks, improve focus, and increase productivity. Loads of great apps have popped up to exploit this phenomenon. Check out Noisli and find the perfect combination of sounds to boost your brainpower.

Bond With Yourself

One of the best ways to combat burnout is by taking time away from your work to focus on yourself. Do something you enjoy like going outside, cooking a great meal or seeing a movie. Whatever you do, take deep breaths while doing it. Not to be forgotten, exercise is proven to be a top anxiety shusher and has proven to increase creative potential, so don’t neglect integrating a workout or two into your routine as well. Enjoy the zen of these mindless tasks (and if nothing else comes out of it, at least your garden is raked and weeded and your shirts are pressed and mended).

Let Sleep Be Your Elusive Mistress

Can’t sleep? Good, start working. New research has shown that the tired brain may be a more creative one. We all have an “optimal” work time – the time of day when we function at our best. Well, recent data suggests that working during your non-optimal time, when you are less focused and alert, may allow you to see problems from a new perspective and gain creative insights. When we are tired, our inhibitions are down and the mind starts to wander in different directions. Those stray thoughts may lead us to the kind of out-of-the-box reasoning that fuels the precious “Aha” moments we’ve been waiting for.

Let Sleep Be Your Elusive Mistress

Life is Short. Wake Up Early.

Waking up super early can also release a tidal wave of creativity. Many artists do their best (and only) work before the sun rises. Science has shown that the creative part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) is most active during and immediately after sleep. When you awake early, your willpower reserves are at the highest they will be during your entire day, so it’s the best time for productivity.  Take advantage of those precious creative connections by seizing that moment to do something thoughtful rather than mindless emails.

 

Are you ready to make your online presence as fresh and unique as your business? Get unblocked and online today!

 


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