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9 Tips to Overcome a Creative Block

Dec 21, 2020
(updated: Dec 5, 2022)
Max 5 min read

The term writer’s block was created in 1947, by the Austrian psychiatrist Edmund Bergler who studied why some writers found it difficult to continue writing. Nowadays, this expression is no longer limited to written production and it has a broader meaning - an obstacle for the creation of something new.

If you are reading this article, chances are that you have experienced it recently, or are experiencing it right now. And although the causes for creative blocks may vary, I decided to share 9 simple tips that are easy and can be integrated. They may help you not only overcome these blocks but also boost your creativity on a daily basis.

1. Exercise your body and your brain will follow 

I’m sure you know that physical activity is good for endless reasons, but could you imagine that it also increases creativity? Have you ever had a creative block and, intuitively, decided to go for a walk? Well, there you go.

Recent studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience enhanced cognitive behavior that is conducive to creativity. Specifically, a study conducted by the University of Leiden showed that individuals who exercised four times a week could think more creatively than those who did not. 

2. Put on Some Tune

Listening to music is one of the most effective ways of putting your mind to work on your creative side. Listening to a song you like and taking the time for enjoying can serve as a path towards great ideas. If you don't use headphones while working, I strongly recommend that you get one. At the time of discouragement and lack of energy, select a playlist with songs that motivate you. It is life-changing. Nowadays, you can easily find many playlists indicated to work.

3. Dive into another person's brain

Some people like writing down phrases from authors they admire, favorite passages, or even complete chapters of books. Some prefer writing down excerpts of favorite songs. Leave these inspirational phrases in a visible place for you. Whenever possible, read it. Also, follow the work of people you admire in your niche. See how their day to day is, understand how they work, and let yourself be inspired by them.

4. Get some rest

While doing all of the above can be really helpful, sometimes, your brain just needs a pause. Personally, If ideas are not coming up for me, I simply take a break - sometimes very short, others, a bit longer. Even if I have a tight deadline, I allow myself to stop, have a cup of tea and perhaps walk around to air my thoughts. 

If you have a longer deadline or are simply working on something personal, enjoy it and let your project rest for one day. If you are writing an article but lost inspiration, leave it and finish it the next day. With your brain at rest, ideas will come up more easily.

But be careful. Give yourself some time, but not too much. Don't leave the project in the drawer waiting for something incredible to happen. One of my favorite authors, Marie Forleo, says that “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” I love it because I find that so true. So pull yourself up, go back to work and trust me - ideas will emerge.

5. Disconnect from social networks

If you have a creative block, it may be that your mind is somewhere else. In other words, your focus may be on social networks, websites, email inbox, etc. So when performing a task that requires creativity, make sure you disconnect from all of these and put your focus on your work.

There is no way of having extraordinary ideas while working on several things at the same time.

I’d be lying if I said I follow this advice 100% of the time, but I can tell you that I have been getting better at directing my full attention into my work by leaving my phone on airplane mode and closing all tabs on the browser. 

6. Change the work environment

Having a place that puts you at ease is essential for ideas to flow. If you work from home, create a comfortable environment with several elements that inspire you. Set up a table with objects you like, place some plants, and keep everything organized as much as possible.

Now, if you work outside your house, try to keep at least your table with its own characteristics. Put some motivational phrases. Leave an inspiring book on the side, put pictures of the people you love. Leave the environment conducive to new ideas.

At the time of the creative block, you can look for a different environment to work in. It can be a cafe, a park, a library. I personally love working outdoors - getting some fresh air always clears my mind to receive new ideas.

7. Read more

Reading is never too much. It helps in writing, vocabulary, conversations and it is one of the best activities to boost creativity. So if you can, read a lot. Get to know new authors, new titles, different genres. I always keep a pen and paper with me, no matter what I’m reading, so I can write down insights, important parts, and interesting passages. 

It is also very good to read books in other languages. Develops the brain. Go to bookstores, browse the books, get to know your local bookstores. Reading never hurts. It helps in creativity, vocabulary, writing, conversations. 

If you need some book recommendations, have a look at our favorite books for freelancers. 

8. Sleep well

Sleeping well is rejuvenating for the brain. If you've worked hard all day and are tired, take a shower and get some sleep. Don't force your thoughts into sleepless nights, it will make you a zombie without good ideas. Sleep and rest your body and brain. You will wake up with the disposition and energy to get back to work.

9. Talk with someone

Sometimes, what we need is simply to talk with someone and verbalize our thoughts for getting over the creative slump. Sometimes when you’re having a personal problem you might start feeling stuck in your creative work. With so much kept in mind, ideas are lost. When we talk with someone, ideas take shape. In addition, other people's advice can help us better develop our projects and ideas.

And you don't even need to look for someone in your area. Have a chat with friends, family, partner, etc. If you can't do it in person, do it through Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram. It doesn't matter. What's important is to verbalize what's on your head, so you can clear your mind and leave it in a more receptive, creative state and get those creative juices flowing.

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