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15 Proven Ways to Overcome Creative Block from Today's Top Experts

creative writingIf you haven't heard about Breakthrough! Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination yet, it's time to check out this awesome book.

It is your panacea from both writer's and creative blocks when you are having trouble writing your blog post.

Alex Cornell, a designer, and a musician, asked experienced professionals – artists, designers, writers, composers – about how they overcame their creative blocks. He gathered their answers in the book, and you have a great chance to follow your gurus' examples and deal with the inspiration, motivation and procrastination issues that don't let you work creatively, effectively and productively sometimes.

There are more than 90 pieces of advice in this 'cookbook', but I've decided to smooth things down for you and chose the 15 most proven ways from today's top experts in their creative fields.

Enjoy! And may the inspiration be with you!

1. Paul Madonna, artist, and writer

"Draw blindfolded."

This exercise is very simple: you draw something without looking at the paper. Concentrate the glance at the thing you are drawing; it's like drawing blindfolded when you do not see what you are drawing.

How does it work? Drawing blindfolded saves you from checking lines during the process itself; it saves you from criticizing yourself because you can't criticize yourself for anything done blindfolded.

Such drawings look like worthless sketches, and yet they have some graceful imperfections and inexplicable beauty.

2. Camm Rowland, executive creative director(Digital Kitchen)

"Drink coffee before going to bed."

This advice doesn't sound logical from a medical point of view, but we are not doctors here, right?

Coffee does not let you sleep; you will lay in your bed and think of everything. That's what we need!

Write down everything that comes to your mind and re-read it all in the morning: 75% of your writings will look worthless, 20% will seem funny, but 5% will be totally gorgeous!

drink coffee

3. Christian Helms, owner of Helms Workshop

"Change perspective."

change perspective

One of the best ways to avoid creative block is to admit you have a problem and give a new meaning to it. Try to look at your creative task from a different perspective: what would be a decision if this product intended for dogs, not people? What if a restaurant was decorated like a movie?

Try to look at your creative task from a different perspective: what would be a decision if this product intended for dogs, not people? What if a restaurant was decorated like a movie?

Changing perspective and approach, we can find unexpected and unique solutions.

4. Chaz Russo, graphic designer

"Listen to music."

Once you feel a creative block, you should restart your consciousness.

First of all, get up and leave your workplace even if you have a deadline. Find a new room, a new place where you can sit and rest. Turn some music on.

It will help you draw a new picture in your head. When you do not have words to describe your thoughts, such an exercise can be very refreshing.

After listening to some music and drawing a picture in your head, you will be ready to take your notebook and make a new sketch or to write something new.

5. Blake Whitman, ex-creative director (Vimeo)

"Take a walk!"

take a walk

The most creative moments come when you spend some time among nature. It might be not easy to do, especially if you live in a big megalopolis such as New York. Although it can be difficult to travel, you can always try to change your surroundings. Take a walk to some park or just peer at images of Yosemite... Maybe it will help, who knows?

Although it can be difficult to travel, you can always try to change your surroundings. Take a walk to the park or just peer at images of Yosemite... Maybe it will help, who knows?

6. Ji Byul Lee, creative director (Facebook)

"Take a shower and clean your room."

Take a shower for a long time: you'll think a little differently in a shower somehow.

Water washes old thoughts away, and you feel refreshed.

Then, do the cleaning. Lee confesses he can't think clearly when it's a mess around. The chances are, cleaning will help you organize your thoughts and come up with new creative ideas for your work.

7. Claire Dederer, writer

"Closet yourself in an expensive hotel."

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check into expensive hotel

This tip only works if you're a little low on money. Check into an expensive hotel for three days. Bring everything you need to excite yourself (sweets, coffees, bourbon, books –

Check into an expensive hotel for three days. Bring everything you need to excite yourself (sweets, coffees, bourbon, books – reading helps you make writing better, etc.), give the key to the reception clerk and ask him not to disturb you and not to give you keys, no matter how persuasive you beg.

Now write ten thousand words. If you feel you can't deal with this task – just think of the money you've spent on just sitting here and staring at the wall.

8. Alexi Murdoch, musician

"Do something."

Here is top 10 from Alexi:

  1. Take all watches out of your house.

  2. Do the same with mirrors.

  3. If you live close to water (lakes, rivers, etc.), take a dip in it.

  4. Do not think about the future.

  5. This of the audience as if they were your enemies.

  6. Give up all food for a while.

  7. Take photos of strangers in a local second-hand store.

  8. Remember, there are 168 hours in a week.

  9. Download some creative application for your mobile phone.

  10. If nothing else helps, cut your forefinger.

9. Simon C. Page, graphic designer

"Find your beach."find your beach

Anyone who visits Simon's blog on Flickr knows he spends more time on the beach than beach-rescues usually do. This is a place where he feels most comfortable.

It's very important to find your own beach – wherever it is – and go there as often as possible. Always take a notebook, even if you do not have any thoughts to write right now: its presence can generate new ideas.

Always take a notebook, even if you do not have any thoughts to write right now: just its presence can generate new ideas.

10. Pixel artists of eBoy

"Enjoy your crisis."

enjoy your crisis

11. Thomas Doyle, contemporary artist

"Read Wikipedia."

Wikipedia is an inexhaustible source of random facts that helps with generating new ideas. Start reading something, and move from one page to another. New information can push you toward something new in your work.

New information can push you toward something new in your work.

12. Mark Jones, illustrator

"Imagine yourself as an opossum."

Imagine yourself someone or something else: a chef at the restaurant, a pilot, a hot dogs seller, or even an opossum. How do they look at the world?

Such an exercise sounds strange, but its task is to help you look at the problem from a different angle. If you need to stand on your head and imagine yourself an opossum to come up with new ideas – just do it!

Each of us has a genius inside, and we only need to wake him up.

opossum

13. Tim Hume, illustrator

"Spend some time next to a washer."

Give up everything, go and wash your clothes. Tim confesses that when he sits and looks at a running washing machine, his thoughts calm down and come to order.

Tim confesses that when he sits and looks at a running washing machine, his thoughts calm down and come to order.

14. Tom Muller, graphic designer

"Watch TV."

The best way to clean your mind might be some routine work: go shopping, read comics, or watch TV.

Tom Muller believes the home shopping channels to be the best variant to watch when you experience a creative block: they do not provide any serious or philosophical information to think about; thus, they can be a perfect variant to relax and clean your mind for new creative design ideas.

15. Graphic designers from The Heads of State

"Eat spicy food."

Nothing cleans your mind (and makes a man cry) as much as spicy food. After you've eaten a very spicy dish and cried over it, all your problems might seem trivial.

Tell me in the comments - what's your favorite way to break through writer's blog?

Lesley Vos is a novice writer and in-house blogger for Bid4Papers. She is a guest contributor to many blogs, including Pick The Brain, Getting Smart and others; she writes a book at the moment, enjoys travels, and can't imagine her pastime without reading something interesting and inspiring.

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28 comments on “15 Proven Ways to Overcome Creative Block from Today's Top Experts”

  1. [ Smiles ] Thankfully, I do not suffer from writer's block; I am blessed when it comes to writing. However, there are times when I may lack a bit of inspiration.

    Listening to my favourite genre of music on my headphones, helps me to get into that creative zone.

    Thanks for another lovely post!

    1. Hi, Renard,

      Music is great - I listen to "Focus At Will" classical or spa music while writing.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Sue

    2. Thanks, Renard!

      Jazz is my king 🙂 Listening to good music saved me many times during writer's blocks or lacks of inspiration. The main thing is to choose right music.

  2. Hi, Ryan,

    If I drank regular coffee at 3 pm in the afternoon, I'd be awake all night. It's fun at the time but you suffer the next day, right?

    The hotel thing does work - although I never gave up my key.

    Safe travels!
    Sue

  3. At first I thought this was about writer's block....but no, creative blocks as a whole?

    I have one for you---it's one of my favorite:

    "Have an engaging conversation with someone you like about something completely off the wall.

    One of my favorite people to do this with is my son, Evan.

    He's 21, newlywed and one of the funniest people on the planet--as well as one of the most intelligent (get's his brains and killer looks from me---his mom still has hers)...

    I can bring up just about anything and it's like talking with a spliced personality of Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory), The Black Adder and Sir Ken Robinson.

    No, you guys can't come hang out with him. He's mine.

    Something happens when we spend relaxed time with people we know, trust and admire that unlocks perspectives, lubricates our creative powers and gets us looking at the world around us in comical ways.

    ...at least that's what happens in our house.

    You could also run naked in the snow.

    ...it doesn't do much for YOUR creativity, but it would be funny as hell to watch and give ME some creative writing ideas!

    (smirk)

    Anyone seen Luke Jordan? He's a brave soul....hehe

    I'd try it, but then you'd all need some serious therapy.

    ...I'm not that mean.

    1. Great idea, Jaime! I find that just getting out of the house -going to the chiropractor, for instance, totally changes my day. I talk to the staff and to him and eat lunch out and talk to the waitress and I'm a new women.

      The snow thing doesn't work down here in Florida but the hot tub thing does 🙂
      Sue

    2. Thanks for sharing your idea, Jaime! I am going to try the thing with snow 😉

      As for conversation with someone you like, it does not work for me: after such talks I feel relaxed and lazy a bit to continue my work. Can't call this method effective to me; but we all are different (and that's awesome!), so I agree it can work for some creative people.

  4. Hi Ryan!

    Happy to know you like the post!

    Coffee is my #1. I drink 1-2 cups every day - not a very strong one, just some coffee drinks are enough for me to wake up and catch my inspiration 🙂 I've never tried the hotel thing (yet!) but I believe it could work for me. I will definitely do it one day.

    Cheers!

  5. Hi Lesley and Sue Anne,

    There are some great and different ideas in this post.

    I also like Jaime's idea about talking to other people. One of my own favourite sayings is that people have always had the power to inspire others. It is very true as I have got loads of ideas from just conversing with others.

    Have a great week.

    Jo

    1. Hi, Jo,

      You are so right! Connections and talking to other people are so key for a blog.

      Thanks for your comment today.
      Sue

    2. Heya Jo!

      I SOOOO AGREE!

      People tend to underestimate how much influence they have on each other, doncha think? The right word, a single idea...relating a personal story--it's can flip a day, heck, even a life around, in an instant.

      My dad has always inspired me. So does my wife. She brilliant (with the exception of marrying me, but hey--I got to marry up!). My kids inspire me daily.

      I'm writing this and my 9 year old son, Simon walked into my office and said, "Here dad, we're having breakfast and I made this for you..." Homemade granola and yogurt. He's the same kid who sneaks in every day, just to kiss me on the cheek and say, "I love you."

      Yes, people can inspire...and I think we should strive to inspire!

      - Jaime Buckley

      1. Hi Jaime,

        What a lovely story about your son making you breakfast. Thank you for sharing it with us.

        'Strive to inspire' - I just love that.

        Hope you have a great day.

        Jo

    3. Hi Jo!

      Totally agree with you: people have the power to inspire others; and my inspiration is observing people, not talking to them. Their behavior and deeds give me much more ideas than talking. I think, it's because of my nature: i'm a listener more than a talker 🙂

      Cheers!

  6. Awesome list of the most creative ideas to breakthrough the "Creative Blocks" and I loved, "If nothing else helps, cut your forefinger." :p

    On my blog, I share some widgets and plugins I design for Blogger platform and I face this issue most the time with my designs.

    Surfing some cool graphic design sites and Listening to some of my favorite old songs and folk music help me a lot.

    Thank you so much for putting together this awesome piece of content in a creative way and sharing with us!

    Satbir-

    1. Hi, Satbir,

      Welcome to the Successful Blogging Team with your comment today!

      Lesley did a great job on the font artwork, didn't she?

      Thanks for sharing your ideas,
      Sue

    2. Hello Satbir!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

      Coffee, music, walks - that's what helps and inspires me. Reading some creative blogs, like this one for example, gives me some new ideas and inspires me, too. Glad to know you've liked the post and the info shared!

      Cheers! 🙂

    1. Hi, Debora,

      You can do an excerpt and a link back to the original post. It's the best way to do it for both of us so Google doesn't read each post as duplicative content.

      Thanks for your questions!
      Sue

  7. You're right. I am also a beginner and writing is new to me. As a non native english speaker, I find it to hard to write a blog post. Thanks for this tips I will surely follow this and post you how it goes.

  8. this is the most informative article on how to avoid writers block. As a seasoned writer and a blogger, I must admit that writers block is one of the biggest challenge to me. It hinders a writer from thinking forward. However, I agree with the article that one of the best way to overcome the block, is to accept that you have a problem and then look for ways of addressing it.Thanks for the great insights.

  9. That was amazing. I loved it. You wrote that very smoothly. Thank you. I am a regular visitor of your blog. keep the work up please.

  10. Thanks for your feedback, Alex!

    A writer's block stops being a problem once you find a niche that inspires you 🙂

    Cheers,

    Lesley

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