Ok, so I have been staring at my computer for close to two hours and I don’t have the slightest idea what to write. Oh! Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of topic ideas outlined but not one of them seems to be making much sense. For creative professionals, it’s like one of those days when you feel like your creative juices simply dried up. Well, I am in this zone. So, I decided to do a little research on how to get my creative grove back.
A quick detour. If you are yet to see the movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, please please and please go see it. And if you have, it wouldn’t hurt to see it again. It reminds me of the average professional who is so consumed by work and climbing up the professional ladder, she forgets herself and lost her groove. But thank God for amazing friends and family, she got it back.
Oh. So where were we?
Yes. Getting our creative groove back. Before I delve into the matter, I would like to state that all creative blocks are not created equal. Different types of block require different solutions. This is something that’s easily forgotten when you’re in the middle of ‘feeling stuck’. Here are four of the most common types of creative blocks, and how to unblock them.
The Mental Block
Have you ever locked yourself in at home and lost the keys? I bet some of you have. This type of block comes when you get trapped by your own thinking. You’re so locked into a familiar pattern or way of looking at the world that you fail to see other options. You make assumptions and approach a problem from a limiting perspective.
Solution: You need to change the way you see things; to change your your mind. Question your assumptions. Ask yourself “What if…?”, and adopt different perspectives. Go somewhere new or read/watch/listen to something new. Talk to people you can rely on to disagree with you, or offer an alternative point of view.
Creativity depends on focus to function properly. And it’s hard to concentrate if you’re getting divorced; going in and out of draining relationships; dealing with In-laws; battling an addiction; falling out with your best friend; grieving over the loss of someone special;, you name it. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to deal with these kind of things one at a time — but troubles often come in twos and threes.
Solution: In my world, there are essentially two ways to approach a personal problem that is becoming a thorn in the flesh of your creativity. Either solve the problem or find ways of coping until it passes.
For the first option you may need some support from friends and family. And it may be worth taking a short-term break from work in order to resolve the issue and free yourself up for the future – hope my boss sees this and gives me a day or two off.
When I say poverty, don’t be quick to think money, although a lack of cash is a perpetual problem for creativity. You could also be time-poor, knowledge-poor, resource-poor, have a threadbare network, or be short of equipment or other things you need to get the job done.
Solution: Like the last type of block, I have two possible solutions. You either save up the time/money/or other resources you need; or set yourself the creative challenge of achieving as much as possible with the limited resources. If you’re in doubt about the latter solution, please consider the first and second of the “Star Wars” trilogy. When you are done, ask yourself whether more resources always equal more creativity?
When you hear someone say ‘I have writers block’ the first thing that usually comes to mind is that the person probably has a shortage of information or resources. Unfortunately that is not always the case – sometimes a block comes from having too much, not too little. Maybe you’ve taken on too many responsibilities; you have too many great ideas; or you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of incoming demands and information. You feel paralyzed by options and obligations, or simply knackered from working too hard for too long.
Solution: Cut! Cut!! Cut!!! Yes, it’s time to cut down. If you are one to take on too many commitments, learn to say “no”. If you have too many ideas, execute a few and put the rest in a folder labeled backburner. If you suffer from information overload, start blocking off downtime or focused work time in your schedule, answer email at set times, switch your phone off, go off bb for a while or even leave it behind. The world won’t end. I promise.
How Do You Deal with Creative Blocks? Which type of block do you struggle with most often? What solutions have worked for you? Share with us your experiencesHow To Get Your Creative Groove Back! by Stellamaris Obomanu