6 Ways to Conquer a Creative Block

By: Lauren Meichtry

Coming up with new ideas can be harder than it looks! As an artist and graphic designer I understand how real the struggle can be. But you don’t have to be an artist to be affected by creative block. Idea generation has become a necessity for staying relevant in careers including public relations. To get back on track, use these six helpful tips for the days when you sit in front of a blank sheet of paper or an empty screen: 

Get out of the house

When I feel like I’m stuck it’s time to stretch, get a hot drink, and take a walk down the block. Use this time to clear your head and take in the world around you. This will remind you that the world is a vastly complex place and not the first, nor the last of your challenges.

Draw your day

Sometimes a simple writing or drawing prompt can kickstart your creative juices. Drawing or writing out events happening in your day such as going to the store, walking your dog, or eating breakfast not only provide new inspiration, but also clear your head of other distractions. Keep a notebook on you at all times in case of unexpected thoughts. Prompts can also be simple questions that can change your perspective by asking why or what if.

“Sometimes a simple writing or drawing prompt can kickstart your creative juices.”

Here are a few alternative prompts to get you started:

  • Go to a public place, such as a park and write or draw what you see for 10 minutes.
  • If your dog or cat could talk, what would they say?
  • Write down a problem (any problem) and spend 15 minutes brainstorming solutions.

Explore beyond your comfort zone

To keep things fresh, it is important to expose yourself to new ideas on a regular basis. I enjoy visiting local art galleries and coffee shops for local events. Your university may even offer free admission to their art galleries or museums so you can seek new inspiration on a budget. Another underappreciated resource is your local library. With a knowledgeable staff, design magazines, books and movies on a vast variety of topics, digging deeper is easier than ever before!

Listen to music

Music is a great way to relax and focus your brain. For me, alternative and classic rock gives me the energy and enthusiasm I need when my mental battery is drained. Of course, this kind of music may not work for everyone- so try a few genres on your own. I have found it helpful to listen to 10 minutes of music before getting back to work.

Utilize online resources

Visit sites including Dribbble, Behance, Dafont, Pinterest, Instagram, and Kuler color picker to play around with color, type, and photos. Once you have some ideas, you can combine them into a mood board (a collage of photos, colors, text and other materials used for inspiration). You can create a mood board in a simple word document, or the old fashioned way with scissors and glue.

Talk to someone

To refresh your memory, talk to a friend, colleague or acquaintance. Your conversation can help you vent your frustration, and they may have a few helpful suggestions for your project. When the pressure to be creative is overpowering, a  listening ear can be very supportive.

Use these tips to generate new ideas the next time you have an uninspiring day!

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