Overcoming Creative Blocks- Strategies for staying inspired and Productive

Overcoming Creative Blocks- Strategies for staying inspired and Productive

As a creative professional, you probably have experienced moments when you needed to work an important task but your mind could not produce a single good idea. Even if you tried harder and put more effort into it, it only made it worse. If this happened to you, you are experiencing a Creative Block. It feels like walking on a misty path, without a hint of where you are going. Creativity is a real treasure, it is the fuel that powers artistic expression and the muse that inspires humans to develop new ideas. But as it comes, it goes, sometimes the treasure vanishes, the muse turns away and we stare at a blank page on our computer screen. Whether you are a Writer, Podcaster, voice-over artist, Creative Director, Artist, or Graphic designer, the world keeps moving and you can’t afford to stay behind, finding ways to overcome a creative block is very essential when pursuing creative excellence. In my few years of being a writer, I’ve had a lot of instances where I experienced stagnation and doubt. So, learning how to overcome creative block is incredibly necessary no matter which industry you work in or the type of creative job you do.

What are the causes of Creative Blocks?
There are hundreds of reasons why we get stuck in non-productive cycles. I will talk about the most common ones that has affected a lot of us.

● Stress – Burn out
Creativity and stress would never be a good pair. Stress makes our mind lose neuroplasticity, making it rigid and could lead to struggling to come up with fresh ideas or engage in imaginative thinking. Stress can be significantly damaging and without the right mindset, it could lead to burnout. A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Burnout can sap creativity by leaving individuals feeling depleted, unmotivated, and unable to summon the energy or inspiration needed for creative endeavors.
Of course, some exceptions exist, people who use stress and pressure to challenge themselves and conquer their goals. Yet, generally speaking, not everyone reacts positively to excessive stress and pressure as it could lead to worry and mental agitation, which inhabits creative inspiration. Therefore, finding ways to relax under stress and engage in practices that help you deal with pressure-related scenarios are increasingly crucial for a creative professional and in general, any worker in any Industry.

● Creative Anxiety
The fear of being unable to keep up with work demands affects many people worldwide. Anxiety can create a sense of apprehension or worry, which can be distracting and draining. Self-doubt and self-pressure are two of the deadliest enemies of one’s creative inspiration. Comparing yourself to others is the third one. Feelings of inadequacy or comparison to others can undermine confidence and creativity. When individuals believe they don’t measure up to certain standards or expectations, they may be less willing to take creative risks or explore new ideas. Creativity is flow and it is challenging to tap into our true creative potential while being afraid. Doubting one’s abilities or feeling insecure about your creative potential can undermine confidence and creativity.

● Depression and Trauma
Depression often leads to a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, including creative pursuits. As someone who struggled a lot with depression,i experienced a lot of loss of interest and motivation to engage in creative endeavors, leading to a decline in productivity and inspiration. Struggle to connect with their feelings or find it difficult to access the emotional depth needed for artistic inspiration. Trauma can trigger intense emotional responses and intrusive memories that disrupt the creative process. Individuals may experience flashbacks, nightmares, or dissociative episodes that interfere with their ability to concentrate and engage in creative activities. Traumatic experiences can cause emotional distress, intrusive thoughts, and a heightened state of arousal or hypervigilance. This can create barriers to creativity by consuming cognitive resources triggering avoidance behaviors, and fostering a sense of emotional numbness or detachment that inhibits the ability to connect with one’s creative impulses.

● Fear of failure
This is a common barrier to creativity. Failure is an inevitable aspect of life. Everyone has failed at certain times in their lives. It is not how many times you’ve failed but how often do you get back on your feet. When individuals are afraid of not meeting their own or other people’s expectations, they may become hesitant to explore new ideas or take creative risks, leading to stagnation.

● Unhealthy habits
Old habits they say, die hard. Habits such as technological distraction, self-absorption, lack of sleep, and poor diet can significantly diminish the creative quality of one’s work. It is challenging to recondition our brains to adapt to new forms of behavior when we are used to and feel comfortable with our old ways. What drives a creative shift is an honest examination of ourselves, looking into how we do our creative work and eliminating old habits that no longer contribute to our development.

How to Overcome a Creative Block
A mental block can happen anytime; knowing a few strategies that may help you conteract it is very essential.

● Accept that you are stuck
The first step in dealing with a problem and finding a solution is accepting that one indeed has a problem. It sounds rather obvious, but it’s true. When you know you are blocked creatively, fighting or lying to yourself won’t help and could worsen things. By accepting you are stuck, you take full responsibility and this will bring a fresh perspective and such freshness comes with new ideas.

● Take a break
Fatigue whether physical or mental, can impair cognitive function and diminish creative abilities. In order to be at one’s creative best, one has to be physically and mentally sound. Issues like lack of sleep, poor health conditions, unresolved emotional issues can all contribute to decreased
creativity. To help with that, incorporate regular breaks into your work day to rest and recharge, and avoid burnout. Short breaks can help maintain mental clarity and prevent fatigue, ultimately enhancing productivity.

● Set clear goals and create a routine
Define what you want to achieve and break it down into smaller manageable tasks. Setting Goals helps give one a sense of direction while establishing a daily routine that includes dedicated time for work, breaks, and activities that inspire you. Use of tools like to-do lists, Calendars, and productivity apps can help one stay on track and manage tasks effectively.

Seek inspiration from diverse sources
Explore different forms of art, literature, music, nature, or cultural experiences to spark creativity. One could also take a walk(if in nature, better). Breathing fresh air and observing life passing around would give you a new perspective to think things through groundedly and come up with fresher creative solutions.

Reflect on your progress
Take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve learned along the way, and use that insight to fuel your continued growth and productivity.

Creative Blocks are natural. The way we approach them is what makes a huge difference. Don’t let the monsters of high pressure, self – doubt and procrastination devour your creative capacity and take away the fun from the job.

Written by:

Victoria Madaki

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