While imagination and creativity often come naturally all designers and creatives will inevitably experience the dreaded ‘creative block’. Whether it’s upon reading the initial brief, or nailing those final revisions, a block is never fun and can often leave us feeling frustrated and uninspired.
We’ve outlined 6 types of creative block and how to try and resolve them:
The logical side of your brain is beating the creative side. You’re questioning every little decision you make (or are trying to make) and your inner critic is working overtime.
Fix it: Get out of your head
If you’re overthinking – stop thinking. Easier said than done, we know. But leave the project alone, take a step away and come back to it later when you’re feeling refreshed. We have loads of ideas of how to do this in our blog: How to Get Your Creative Mojo Back.
You can’t move past an idea
Sometimes we have an idea we feel really passionate about. We fixate, we develop, we refine, only for it to not materialise as you saw it in your head, or the client does not like it. Everything you create afterwards still leans towards your original idea.
Fix it: Cleanse your workspace
Whether this is your actual physical space, or your digital system – remove all evidence of your original idea. We’re not saying rip it up or put it in the bin, but file it away so you can no longer see it. Turn the page, start a new document, hide artwork within another file. Start your creative process again and begin with a word map, a clear workspace means for a clear mind.
Stuck in your comfort zone
We all have our own styles and approaches but sometimes this stops us from pushing boundaries. It is a fear of trying something new and it being rejected. The security of a ‘safe’ design is more appealing than potential new prospects.
Fix it: Create something bad
Allow yourself to create something terrible. Do it fast, with no consideration for technique or “being good”. Just get it out and start making marks on the page. You may surprise yourself and create something you can develop… or at least it will make you smile.
Life is getting in the way
We’re all human, personal problems happen all the time and can cause creativity to take a back seat. Our mind can only fixate on the immediate problem.
Fix it: Take a step back
Remember, it’s OK to take some time out. Personal well-being is key in order to maintain mental health and creativity. We are often so hard on ourselves to be the best in all aspects of our life, but sometimes, something has to give. Take some time to deal with and try and resolve your personal issue. Talk it out if you need to or simply make sure you’re taking active steps for self-care. When you’re feeling better, creativity will return naturally.
You have so much on your plate, you are non-stop and have little time for an appropriate work-life balance. It’s about getting it all done rather than being the best you can be creatively.
Fix it: Say no
This can be difficult, especially if you’re a ‘yes’ person. In order to maintain your best efforts and most creative thoughts, saying no can allow you to clear more from your to-do list. Your mental health is important. Make a priority list and turn off notifications. It will allow you to work on key projects without disruption.
You lack the knowledge/skill
There are some things we’re great at, there are others we’re not. As much as we’d love to be the best at everything we try, it’s human nature, we all have different skills. Whether it’s learning new software, trying a new technique or attempting to imitate another person, if we cannot do something it can leave us feeling frustrated.
Fix it: Practice and accept
We’ve all heard it before ‘practice makes perfect’. While perfection may not be achievable right away – it can help improve confidence and knowledge. The most important part is to learn to accept we cannot do everything but giving it a go always helps.
Remember, creative block hits us all at some point, you’re not alone and it won’t last forever, even if it may seem like it. Often, this period will actually be a precursor to a big breakthrough – just wait and see.