Monday, October 17, 2011

Learn How to Overcome Creative Block



You’ve been struggling for some time to find an idea for your project but it seems that Muses have turned their back on you. No matter how hard you try, ideas do not come to you. Finally you end up thinking that you will never, ever going to be able to produce any idea. Guess what - it’s normal that you feel this way. And you are not the only one. Everybody, even the most prolific creatives sometimes undergo periods of dry spell when they are unable to create.


There are many articles on the Internet about how to overcome creative block but none of them can provide you with the magic formula that will ignite your dormant creativity simply because we are all unique and everyone’s creativity is different and unpredictable. In this post I will share with you a few tips that I personally find most effective.

PAUSE
If it’s not working, leave it for the time being. You cannot force creative process if your mind is not in the mood to create. Just stop trying and do some other things, you will go back to your thinking later during the day.

FOCUS
In the meantime (while you are pausing) ponder upon the subject of your thinking. Have you chosen the right focus? Have you formulated the topic of your thinking in the right way? Do you know on what things you should base your thinking? Maybe you need some time to settle down your thoughts and rethink your focus. Without the right focus your creative effort is futile – you will either be completely unable to find any answer, or you will end up with all kinds of ideas that are totally useless.

INVESTIGATE
Search for the information about the subject/focus of your thinking. Look for case studies, consult other people who had the same task/experience, read books, search the Internet... The more you snoop around, the more susceptible to the topic you will become. You will begin to notice useful facts and details that can help you in your thinking and you will discover connections that will eventually lead you towards the solution.

RELAX
Maybe you are just too stressed out and unable to concentrate. Relax for a few days. Cut yourself off from the current life situation: change the surroundings, go on a short trip, turn off your mobile phone, forget about your lap top... Read a book, watch the clouds, take a long walk by the river... Relax your mind, give it some time to reset and the ideas will soon start to flow in again.

CONCENTRATE
Isolate yourself from all the distractions for just one hour. Lock yourself away in your bedroom, turn off the telephone, TV, Internet, get rid of your spouse, your kids and dog... If you do not have the room of your own, sit on a bench in the park, go to a street café... any place where you can be alone with your thoughts. Just sit there with a piece of paper and pen, or your lap top if you prefer it that way, and wait. At first, you will think that you have gone nuts sitting there staring at a blank piece of paper or a screen. Than different pictures of that day’s experiences will probably start to flash before your eyes... Be disciplined and sit there concentrating on the focus of your thinking, no matter what other thoughts might come across your mind. It will take some time before you become deeply engaged in your focus, but it will happen if you try hard enough. Your thoughts will crystallize and the ideas will begin to appear.

BE ACTIVE
Do sports, run, go to a gym or a swimming pool... Play football with your kids. Physical activity, interaction with other people and fresh air will clear your thoughts. All the tension that is blocking your mind and body will release and you will feel mentally fresh to create again.

BRAINSTORM
Sit down with your friends and discuss with them the project that you are currently working on. They need not be experts on the subject. Even better if they are not because their ideas might inspire you to think out of the box. Have a nice and relaxed conversation with them and write down all the ideas that show up during the conversation, without any censorship. Go back to them later and see if any of them can help you solve your problem. It is amazing how many ginteresting are mentioned in everyday informal conversations but they pass unnoticed and unrecorded.

BECOME INSPIRED
Surround yourself with creativity: read books, visit an exhibition, listen to music, watch films and TV documentaries... The world is full of inspiring people - look for them on the Internet. Become Twitter or Facebook friends with them.

FINALLY, BE PATIENT
Ideas are all around us. They will certainly come to you, maybe within a few hours, or within a few days. Sometimes it will take months before you will be able to think of that one, ground-braking-problem-solving-idea. If you try hard and if you keep thinking about it, the idea will come to you sooner or later.

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If you wish to further explore this topic, you can check out the selection of my favourite books about creative thinking.


1 comments:

Carolyn Elliott said...

Pedja-- thanks so much for this article! I work with myself and others on dissolving creative blocks, too, and I tend to get very esoteric with it-- delving into active imagination with figures in the unconscious, doing dreamwork, etc. It really helps for me to be brought down to earth and reminded of tips like these. For example, I love the suggestion of being active-- I know that sometimes just going for a run around my neighborhood shakes something loose in my brain and I'm way better afterward. Love!

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