There are few worse feelings for creative people than “blocked.” Most of you reading this likely know exactly what we’re talking about. You know the frustration of not being able to come up with ideas. You know what a blow to the confidence it can be to stare at a half-finished design and not know which step to take next. And the worst part is the more you fight the blockage, the worse it seems to get.
You cannot stubbornly push your way through an inspiration block. But you can work around it or find ways through it. Here are some great ways to reignite your inspiration and help you get back to the creative flow you know and love.
Conferences and conventions are a great way to connect with your peers and the movers and shakers in your field. They are also a great way to get a look at what others are doing and to feed your creative appetite. Seeing what other people are doing helps spark ideas because you can look at their work and figure out what you would do differently or use it to inform your own. If you’re stuck with a specific problem, looking at how others tackle similar issues can be immensely helpful and inspiring.
It is important to note that when you attend these events you will get much more from them if you interact. Do not simply attend panels and wander vendor halls or artist alleys. Talk to your fellow attendees. Ask questions of panelists and moderators. If you’re not comfortable doing this with people you don’t know well, download and use the mobile event app offered by the organizers. These apps were invented by companies like DoubleDutch specifically to help people interact and leave feedback in a comfortable medium (and in real-time). Connect digitally, then make the move to face to face when you feel comfortable doing so.
Get away from your desk. It is the Murphy’s law of Inspiration Block that your best ideas will happen when you are away from your work space. This is why you get so many ideas in the shower when you can’t do anything about them. There are also physical benefits to getting up and moving around. Exercise produces endorphins which can elevate your mood and help you think more clearly. It increases blood flow which helps improve your brain’s performance.
This movement doesn’t have to be extreme or lengthy. By all means, if you like running, go for a run or head to the gym. But if that isn’t your scene, don’t worry. Just get away from the desk and move. Dance around your work space for a few minutes. Go for a walk–even around the block is helpful. Do some yoga. Pace. Just move.
There are all sorts of physical and mental benefits to giving yourself a literal breath of fresh air. Head out to your favorite coffee shop. Walk around the block a few times or go for a walk in a nearby park. Even if you simply sit on a bench outside for ten or fifteen minutes, the change of scenery and the fresh air will do your inspiration good.
Increase Your Intake
As designers and creative people we often focus on what we can produce (after all, our production rate ties in directly to our incomes!). It is just as, if not more, important to feed your inspiration. Take the afternoon to read a book or go to a movie. Wander through your local gallery. Watch some TV. Play a game. Browse through Instagram. Experience creativity and art for yourself. All of these things will help you relax and give you ideas for how to fix your current block. There is a reason that the advice “If you want to be a good writer you have to read a lot” is so widespread: because it is true.
Eat a Food
And no, we don’t mean to shove whatever junk food is closest into your face. Get up and make a small salad or sandwich. Eat some veggie sticks or a piece of fruit. Eating a healthy snack forces you to focus on something else for a minute and helps keep your body healthy. Relying on caffeine, sugar, and salt to get you through a block works against you, not for you.
These are just some of the ways that you can chip away at your inspiration block. We’ve tried each of them so we’re confident in their success rates. What are some of the things you do to break through a blockage?