What to do when you get a creative block


A creative block can be one of the most paralyzing positions to be in. It’s similar to depression in that you don’t know when the cloud will lift. I have found over the last thirty years of being in the field of creativity that I’m usually hungry, tired, alone and dull in those moments. Creative block isn’t necessarily a lack of ideas as much as it is running on an empty spirit and lack of energy.

In the course of my life I have trained and ran two full marathons and two half marathons. what I learned in my training was an important discipline: Your rest and replenishment is just as important to the running. For a long time I spent my time feeling guilty about taking a nap or getting rest due to guilt and shame that I wasn’t working to the bone to provide for my family. In time, I reached burnout. Thanks to mentors I was given permission to make rest mandatory as a discipline. In doing so I was overflowing with creativity, I became sharper, I was happier, my frustrations were less and my heart was at ease.

Here are a few disciplines I use to get great downloads of inspiration and fresh ideas:

Refill your cup and take yourself on a date- My favorite is taking myself to lunch at my favorite restaurants, going for a long drive with the music so loud it makes my ears bleed. Music charges me. I listen to ambient and soundtracks including my newest favorite by my good friend Gustaf Fjelstrom.

Get into an unfamiliar surrounding- Get out of the norm of the typical routine. I found myself flatlining in ideas when everything became predictable. I forced myself to break up the norm visiting new places such as an antique store or visit websites that spur new images. Another great thing to do is hang out with new people and collaborate. This is the essence of “new” inspiration. When I am in a room of likeminded creatives my mind goes into hyperdrive for new ideas.

Create something in a non traditional medium- This one might be the hardest to do. I have forced myself to try new things that stretch my techniques and force failure. This is where you learn. Most professional athletes practice putting themselves in tight situations so they are familiar with producing great results in uncomfortable situations.

Look, the good news about the creative block is that it is temporary. It won’t last forever. The steps above I believe will help you navigate out of the funk or plateau.

How do you refresh your inspiration? I’d love to hear from you down below.

There are times as creatives that we hit a mental wall and feel that there is nothing in the tank of creativity. Here we see Lil’ Noah frustrated to which way he should go. He finds himself hungry, tired and forcing the issue that just leads to additional frustration. Creatives are passionate about later nights and seeing the project through. However, it can come at a cost when we don’t take a pit stop. Life can be the same. The freedom finally comes when we step outside, out of the box of the norm and into the adventure of the unknown that we find our voice and story. Be bold. Be courages to step out of the comfort zone to discover what stories lie out there.