Whether you’re a painter, an advertising copywriter, an inventor, or an entrepreneur, you’ve probably felt it—a huge, unyielding creative block. You can’t find inspiration. You can’t think of solutions. Every idea you’ve come up with has failed, and you don’t know what else you can do. You don’t feel creative, just tired and totally spent.
It happens to the best of us. How do you get past that creative block and find what you’re looking for—whether it’s that snappy advertising campaign, the final chapter for your novel, or a way to control the overhead of your company? Read these tips.
Cut back on stress
You’re so exhausted you can’t think, so you try to think harder, or work faster, and then panic when every effort fizzles out or backfires. Physical and emotional stress climb. How can you be creative under these circumstances? It’s a marvel you’re even functioning!
Think of this metaphor: you need to get water from a well, but the well needs to have a steady source of water, too. So… fill the well. Take care of your body. Nurture your spirit. Do something you love. Take up a fun exercise (like zumba). Make time for your hobby, whether it’s biking or drawing. You’re not ‘loafing off’ you’re investing in your greatest resource: yourself.
Take a break from the problem
You may have spent so much time and effort on a problem that you can’t see the clues or solutions that are right in front of you! So put away the project for a while. Consciously decide not to think about it, worry about it, or talk to other people about it.
Stimulate other parts of your brain
Do something that’s completely different from what you’re used to. If you’re more of a visual person, then attend a concert. If you’re usually buried under a pile of Excel charts and business figures, sign up for a weekend poetry writing class. Feed your brain with a totally different kind of stimulation.
Get a bigger picture
Maybe you’re used to approaching a topic from a particular perspective. For example, if you’re in marketing, have lunch from somebody from the sales or product development department and ask for their ideas or comments. Or, see what other companies in other industries are doing—you may be selling different products or services, but you could learn how they’re responding to consumer trends, or new innovations or approaches that may apply to your situation. And, of course, study what the competition’s doing. You shouldn’t copy them—their solutions may not work for you—but the act of analyzing their choices and scrutinizing their structure will help clarify what you want and don’t want.