painting "Coffeetime" by Jana Felber
creative punch

A GREAT IDEA HUNT – part 3

Overcoming creative block

I’m rarely creatively blocked and can’t remember the last time I suffered from it. Why did I say „suffered“? If doing your job you have to come up with innovative concepts on the day basis, the so-called „creative block“ can’t just upset you but can damage your entire career.

But if you’re currently facing this problem, I have a couple of effective strategies to overcome it.

  1. Waiting for inspiration? Believe me it’s a bad strategy. If you’re working under pressure and with tight deadlines the muse won’t visit you anyway. Just DO your thing!
  2. Make your creative space colourful and inspiring. Please no white walls like in a pubic hospital, less red and more blue. Have fun working over there!
  3. If your inner voice is telling you how imperfect your ideas are, tell it to shut up and continue working.
  4. Go on a diet. Informational diet: less news, less details on your new project. Get off the Internet for a while and make a list of your own creative concepts being born in your own creative head.
  5. Often we stuck in trying to avoid idea-cliché. Try to approach every concept from the opposite angle, go against the flow. Most of your new ideas will end up in the recycling bin but you’ll be warmed up and be able to avoid cliché scenarios.
  6. Working under pressure is slowly killing your creativity. Find some time to relax.
  7. Freewriting is a technique, which will get you moving and uncover your ideas. It can be a stream of consciousness on how much you hate the project, your memories or dreams. Your unconscious will begin to work after you stop to stifle its neck. And after some bla-bla-bla you will start to work on it for real. If ideas not related to your project occur as you write, record them as well. Sometimes they can be a part of what is keeping you blocked. If instead of your project you’re thinking of the dirty flat you’re living in, go ahead, clean it up and only after that come back to your project.
  8. Talk to yourself and find out what blocks you.
  9. Try different working environments. Brainstorm on a bench in a beautiful park, do mind mapping in a cosy coffee shop, outline your project in a studio, present it to a friend drinking a glass of natural wine.
  10. Russian people say: “don’t postpone it for tomorrow if it can be done today“. But in Russian they also say „Morning is wiser than the evening“ in the sense that you have to take a decision only next morning. These proverbs may oppose each other but I manage to follow both of these advices. Use the second proverb to improve the project you’re working on right now: brainstorm, outline and work on it today; revise, enhance and disclose it a couple of days later (of course, it depends on your deadline but leave some time to review it with a clear head).
  11. This is how Mark Twain would solve this problem: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

And if none of these strategies helps you, try to step away from a project and come back to it later with a refreshed mind.

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