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How to overcome creative block

Stuck for ideas? You’re not alone. Most of us find inspiration in short supply at some point. But there are ways to get the creative juices flowing once more.

If you’ve hit a creative wall or lack motivation, there are a few things you can try – like listening to upbeat music or perhaps a walk with your dog may do the trick. For those of us lacking a canine pal, injecting a little newness or engaging in different experiences and activities may be all it takes to enable your ideas to blossom. Here, we explore how to get things moving again…

Step back in time

A great thing any creative can do is look back at the work of our predecessors. Whatever your passion, there will almost certainly be an unlimited supply of examples you can dip into on the internet. You could also visit libraries, museums, art galleries or even attend a lecture. Learning and enjoying a little history opens our minds to possibilities.

There isn’t a secret formula to unlocking creativity. It can come in a multitude of different forms and everything and anything can inspire. Whether you want to dip into the works of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or New Zealand’s The Group, spending an hour or two in a different era is wonderful and inspiring.

Explore

Taking time out to nurture your body and mind can work wonders. Switch off technological devices and immerse yourself in the great outdoors for an uplifting way to get your creative juices flowing. Nature and fresh air are good for the soul and having your spirits lifted can often help to shift the block.

Another idea to consider is a day trip or holiday. Exploring a new location is an exciting way to spark ideas. If a holiday isn’t possible, how about visiting somewhere new where you live? It could be a tourist attraction or even a restaurant you haven’t yet tried. The secret is to notice everything like you’re seeing the world for the very first time. Being mindful will truly enrich your experience and may generate new ideas.

Pause to enjoy the little things

Often when we hit a wall with our creativity all we need to do is stop what we’re doing and take a break. Moving away from where we create, even if it’s just for an hour, can help us to see things more clearly.

A break could include making a cup of tea, playing some music, meditating or even doing a few stretches. Pausing and refocusing the mind on another activity will reset the balance and give a fresh perspective on what you’re doing. Getting into the habit of taking regular breaks is also a healthy way to work.

Nurture relationships

It’s tricky to trace inspiration to one source because ideas come from myriad places. Conversations around the breakfast table, people-watching in a local café or even shopping with a friend can generate fresh perspectives. It’s valuable to nurture relationships while also meeting new people. Friendly interactions make us feel good and feeling happy and content can help creativity to flow.

Discussing our creative work is also valuable. Sharing our thoughts can bring them to life and if we’re struggling with an idea we may even find we reach a quicker solution. And who knows — a friend or family member may even have a few useful tips.

Look within

Taking time out to clear the mind enables us to hear our thoughts and listen to what’s truly in our hearts. Often our own voice is drowned out by the noise of the world around us. So much so we may find we start to follow the ideas, goals and dreams of others. Having a few minutes of quiet calm can enable us to hear what’s happening within. It can also help us to follow our own creative path rather than other people’s journeys.

If you’re not sure how even to begin, there are many guided meditation sessions to help you. These can be found online, in books or downloaded to your phone. The secret is to quietly observe the mind and try not to change it. It’s good to let  thoughts and feelings come and go, each time returning to the breath. Sitting in silence is a wonderful habit to get into and it can enable you to gain a greater understanding of your creative path.

Experiment with other forms of creativity

Engaging in other forms of creativity, for example, a different technique or new medium, can be fun. Experimenting can help us to view our own activity from a fresh perspective. You may also find you benefit from meeting a fellow creative. Working alongside others enables us to share our creativity while helping one another along. Sometimes all it takes is a step to one side in order to see our work more clearly.

There’s also a lot of value in observing other forms of creativity. You could watch a ballet, attend a music concert or take in a play. All these things will help to get some distance between you and your work. And everything has the potential to inspire, especially seeing talent and dedication in other people.

This article was originally published in Issue 6, Breathe Magazine – Personal Reflection.