It hits us all at some point: creative block. Whether a writer, a designer, an artist, a school teacher thinking up ideas for class, an employee working on a presentation or any other profession that involves creative ideas or problem solving.
The mind is blank. The page is blank. You either panic and work yourself into a tizzy or procrastinate to avoid the problem altogether. Not knowing how long this dry spell will last is worrying.
Googling ‘creative block’ presents a surprisingly short list of solutions, especially when most have experienced it. Suggestions of a holiday abroad may not be logical for the cash strapped but a day off doing something unrelated can bring a fresh eyes to the problem.
Another is staying with the blank page and doodling anything that comes to mind. The idea being that subconscious drawing and a relaxed mind will eventually lead to ideas. I have found this most helpful. It’s good to draw with no reason other than the enjoyment. Eventually you get flickers of inspiration. Drawing and redrawing these ideas until they’re fully formed can lead lead to another idea.
Reading success stories about inspirational people is a great one. Seeing how they started from nothing shows you that you can do it too.
Watching a movie is another favourite of mine. Getting carried away with the visuals and the escapism gives me the drive to reenact how I felt during the film through my work.
Looking at the same source material, it can start to lose its effect. Disregard the job at hand for a while and just take in as much inspirational material as possible. Reading fiction, looking at art and design books, listening to music, trawling sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, you’ll start to see a pattern in things you like.
Solving problems in the same way can get monotonous. All of your work could start to look the same. You get stuck in your ways. Doing something out of your comfort zone can open your mind to new ideas.
For example, I do a weekly life drawing class. Every week I use pencil. This week I left the pencil at home and experimented with charcoal, pastels, pen and also using my left hand instead of my right. Only small changes I know but it got me excited about what else I can try. Transferring this to my designing is the next step.
Currently, I have been reading and watching everything Hacienda, Factory Record and Peter Saville related, doodling anything at every chance, filling a notebook tear outs, scribblings, fabric swatches and photos, and I have a long awaited break away from the city lined up. I don’t know how this will influence my work but I’m excited to see how.
How do you deal with creative block? I’d be interested to hear.