5 Simple Ways to Overcome Your Creative Block

5 Simple Ways to Overcome Your Creative Block


Last time, we went into detail about how to create a strong brand (Not sure what we’re talking about? Read our post here to catch up to speed!). You’re pumped and inspired, and you’re ready to create.

So you take out your essential work setup – your pens, a sheet of paper, and “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” playing in the background (all essential ingredients). You hunker down.
5 hours (and 3 coffee breaks) later, the sheet remains tantalizingly blank. The only thing you produced in those 5 hours was a sense of frustration and disappointment in yourself.

Trust us when we say that we’ve been there. Creativity is hard. It happens to the best of us.

But time doesn’t stop for your business and your brand. So here are 5 tips for you to overcome that 2-ton creative block.

Tip #1 – Have a secret inspiration board

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton

The worlds of science and art don’t intersect too often, but they do this time. When your own creative juices are running dry, there’s no shame in looking to other great minds for ideas.

Have a place to store inspiration pieces. Create a secret board on Pinterest, or go to websites like Behance.net. There are plenty of sources out there to provide you the inspiration you need. If you’re more of the traditional creative, just slot in pieces of work that inspires you into a folder or a journal. When you’re feeling stuck (or having a bad day), just open up your board and look through the things that have inspired you. Try to think about what about those pieces inspired you, and try to incorporate that in your work.

Tip #2 – Figure out your optimal creative setup

Regardless whether you prefer the traditional pen and paper, or the modern app; as long as you have a place to jot down sudden ideas and keep them. Sometimes an idea pops up when you least expect it, so make sure you’re always ready for it. A good tip is to just write down the idea and see if you still think it’s a good idea the next day/the next 2 hours or so.

Having a location or a ritual to ready yourself before you start creating is also important for some people. Some people prefer to work in complete silence in empty office rooms, others like to sit in cafes and draw inspiration from the people around them. Figuring out what sort of set-up best helps you get into the flow is half the battle.

Photo Credit: picjumbo

Tip #3 – Don’t think. Just write.

The other half of the battle is actually starting. That blank sheet of paper? Write something on it. Anything. You’ll find that ideas will soon start to flow. That lone sheet of blank paper? You’ll be reaching to grab more sheets of paper soon enough once you just put your pen to good use.

Oh, and when you’re writing it all out, don’t stop too often to tidy your thoughts up. Dedicate a certain amount of time to just write down as many ideas as you can – it can even take up the very first session if you want. This is because stopping to refine an idea can lead us to think that it’s good enough to be the final product once we’re done touching upon it, and we don’t make the effort to explore any further.

Don’t limit yourself or your options. Cast your net wide by jotting down as many different ideas as you can. You can choose which fish you want to keep after you reel them all in later.

Photo Credit: Tirachard Kumtanom

Tip #4 – Do all the above with a partner, colleague, or friend

But just one thing – complete Tips #1-3 separately on your own first, and then come together to see what ideas you two came up with. This allows for both parties’ ideas to be equally fleshed out. Sometimes, even when we don’t mean to,  our enthusiasm for our own ideas dominates a group dynamic, drowning out perfectly good ideas from other people in the process.

Set a time for everyone to come up with their own ideas before coming back together to share.

Tip #5 – Remember to take breaks

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

What do you do when you’ve really spent a significant amount of time experimenting and you still come up with nothing? Bashing your head against a brick wall results in nothing but an overly bruised forehead. It’s time to take a short breather.

Go outside for a short stroll or make yourself some coffee. No seriously, go for a walk. Stanford released a study a few years back that showed that “[a] person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down…”. An experiment conducted for the same study also found that research participants had 60% more creative output while walking compared to sitting down. Taking a break to go walk outside may funnily be the most efficient way to work.

Breaks aren’t just for when you’re stumped, either. Even if you’re doing well, it’s important to take breaks to make sure that you don’t get burnt out or fatigued in a single session. For this, we recommend using the Pomodoro Technique. Developed by Francesco Cirillo, the technique instructs you to work in 25-minute intervals, taking a short break and then starting another 25-minute interval. After 4 of these 25-minute intervals have been completed in a row, take a longer break of roughly 15-30 minutes, and then restart the entire process. The relatively short intervals encourage you to stay focused and also helps to ease off the fatigue that inevitably builds up over time.

So, are you inspired yet? 🙂

Go out and start creating! Or if you want to talk to experienced creatives and strategists on how to effectively brand your business for the digital space, feel free to reach out to us HERE! We look forward to hearing from you!