A Bump In the Road: Surviving Creative Roadblocks

autumn landscape by Nicholas Bell Photo – click for info

This is a guest post by Alyssa Ennis.

If you work or dabble in any type of creative industry, you probably know the frustrating feeling of creative roadblocks all too well. You can’t ever seem to get creativity to strike you when you need it most, which can be irritating when you’re on a project deadline. Fortunately, there are ways to inspire creativity if you’re really in a pinch. Here are five of my favorite tips for busting down creative roadblocks.

1. Change Your Environment

If I’ve been staring at a blank Word document for twenty minutes, I know it’s time to switch up my environment. If you work in front a computer, just turning off your screen and walking around your office a bit can really loosen up your creative juices. Better yet, go for a walk around the block a few times, or go to your favorite coffee shop for a bit.

Changing your environment is key to breaking down barriers to creativity, because you need new surroundings to allow for new inspirations. Even a change of faces can joggle an idea for a project. If you’re absolutely out of time and need to churn out a creative idea ASAP, try looking a few landscape photos online to simulate a change of environment.

2. Change Mediums

As you may have guessed by now, jump starting creativity is highly connected to change. Switching up which medium (writing, reading, designing, painting, etc.) you use can give your brain a much needed break. If most of your creative work takes place in writing form, trying sketching or crafting.

When you change mediums, remember that there is no need to produce anything — simply enjoy the activity without the pressure of creating something. This can help you reconnect with your creative side without the added stress of getting something done. For many people, it is difficult to be inspired when there are high feelings of stress present, and the best method for coping with that is to partake in an activity that is enjoyable and relaxing.

3. Talk to People

If you work in an office, or any sort of community, the people around you can be great resources for inspiration. If you’re really feeling at a loss for ideas, ask a coworker or two to help you brainstorm. You might be surprised at some of their ideas and expertise.

If you’re sick of thinking about your project, ask a coworker to go to coffee or for a walk, and have a regular conversation — inspiration can often come from mundane activities and topics. If you work alone and desperately need an injection of new ideas, try turning on the TV, the radio, or get online and read the news. Coming across new scenarios and information can often spark new ideas.

4. Look at Other Creative Projects

Surrounding yourself with projects steeped in creativity, like paintings, sculptures, or handmade objects, can set your brain on a creative track. Finding inspiration from others is especially important if you do not work in a creative community.

Obviously, walking through a gallery or art museum is not always an option, and if this is the case try looking at virtual tours of various art collections online. Don’t force yourself to find an idea when you look at other creative projects; simply enjoy other artworks, and let the inspiration come to you.

5. Get Moving

Thirty minutes of exercise can boost creativity for hours. Aerobic exercise is especially good for getting your creative juices flowing because it can increase oxygen flow to your brain, resulting in heightened brain functioning. Getting up and moving is also a great way to change your environment.

If you work at an office, try exercising on your lunch break. If you work from home or a studio, always have work-out clothes on hand in case you need a creativity boost. After at least thirty minutes of exercise, jump right back into your project, as creative benefits are best right after working out.

If you work in any sort of creative field, you know that nothing is more mocking than a blank canvas, an empty Word document, or a white sheet of paper. Creativity strikes us at unpredictable times, but with these five steps you can start the creative juices flowing when you need them to.

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Alyssa is a 20-something blogger living in the great state of Washington; more specifically, the beautiful city of Seattle. Alyssa’s favorite things about the PNW are the endless coffee and wide selection of microbrews. On a non-blogging day, one can typically find Alyssa exploring the city with her favorite Canon camera in one hand and a venti hazelnut latte in the other. You can keep up with her on Twitter.

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