Get unstuck: Tips for creative block


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Get unstuck: Tips for creative block

For our team, our jobs depend on our creative juices being ever-flowing. For at least five days a week and eight hours a day, we need to be able to turn it on and churn it out…on command. Eventually, the inevitable will happen: our brains will fart and ideas will refuse to sit next to us.

Now what? What happens when you’re standing on the verge of creative genius and you need the winds of inspiration to blow just right?

First, let’s break down what creative block is. I believe it was Captain Obvious who once said, “It’s a blockage of creativity.” However, this can mean various things for different creatives, but in its basic form can be defined as the inability to connect the dots and solve a problem.

Christina Huynh, our web content specialist, gives her expert definition of writer’s block: “In my opinion, it happens when you want something to be so perfect that nothing you write can possibly match your expectations…which winds up with you staring down a blank computer screen or obsessively tweaking a sentence. It’s the fear of not writing something good, and you break that barrier by writing everything down.”

The cause of the gobbledygook that crowds our mental space can run the gamut of internal criticism, recent rejection, illness, sadness…to just plain ol’ exhaustion.

Whatever the cause, there are a variety of ways to address this temporary inability to produce. Some may change their daily routine. Some may change their work environments to restart the creative process. One study shows that exposure to different cultures can awaken and improve one’s ability to solve problems by experiencing different perspectives. For others, solitude is an important part of the creative process. Finding time to get away from distractions may help rejuvenate the creative senses.

Sometimes, it’s the total opposite. “House/dance music is my go-to for writing! I feel like if my body is having a party, eventually my brain will have to join,” says media relations manager Leticia McCadden.

In case you need a little more than our wise anecdotes, GoodTherapy.org suggests some clinical ways of alleviating this block:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy places the main focus on the issue causing the creative block and helps the person in treatment identify and understand any connection between thoughts and behavior.
  • Mindfulness-based approaches also help those in therapy recognize how one’s thought process may be connected to behavior, but these approaches aim to help individuals disengage from any harmful or negative thoughts.
  • Art therapy can help individuals work through creative blocks by providing them with tools to inspire creativity and work through any issues that are blocking inspiration. The use of structured or unstructured art during a blocked period has been shown to help individuals overcome stalled creativity.

 Learn about sketching as a brainstorming tool

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