Are you staring at the screen for what feels like hours? That's how I feel today. And nothing is coming. Not one word. Well, some words, these ones. The words that mark the realisation of having hit a total creative wall. Is there anything more frustrating?
What makes it worse is the more you try and come up with something, the less likely you are to do it – in fact the only thing I have come up with is a million and one ways to do something completely different whilst still being productive.
But, actually, this got me thinking. I’ve never really had a ‘process’ when I get a mind block. Usually I do what I’ve done today, stare at the screen and read the news until something catches my eye or jolts my brain. But what if, like today, that ‘method’ (let’s face it, less of a method, more of a way to waste time) fails? It’s so important to have a real process in place, a few idea makers cached.
So, instead of mindlessly searching for something to write about I’m flipping today’s mental block on its head and writing about ways you can find creative inspiration, because more than one method is a must!
- My way – it may not be the right way for all, but I’ve always found great inspiration from just going online and typing words like ‘today’, and reading the news from places like CIPR, IoIC, Marketing Week etc. For instance, I found out today that I had a strong opinion on #howtoconfusemillennials. I also found my spirits lifted slightly when reading one boy’s blog on working at Target. Whilst not totally fruitful ideas, they were enough to get my brain thinking of angles, opinions, twists and, if nothing else, the latter at least put me in a cheerier mindset.
- Pinterest – Ugh, I’ve realised recently that there are many occasions I’m lost without Pinterest. I look to it for everything - from something yummy for dinner - to what to wear. And it’s no different for work! Many of us here get our creative juices flowing from Pinterest. Why not be prepared and create a ‘creative block’ board ahead of time that houses any little ideas, images, or words that get you inspired? You never know when you might need them.
- Walk away – Sometimes a break does the world of good. Getting some fresh air and exercise can shift your brain back into gear and gives you time away from that screen!
- Just get writing, drawing, etc. – let your mind go blank and do the first thing that feels natural. For instance, this blog started by me excessively writing down the words “blog, blog, blog, blog, mind block, blog” and an idea was born. Clever, eh?!
- Watch adverts, read slogans, listen to music – absorb anything creative. I’m not saying copy them, but sometimes the way someone else has been creative can inspire you. Whether it’s a sense of competitiveness, who knows, but it works for many and gets words and ideas flowing around your mind. Creativity is catching.
- Read short stories – whenever I feel creatively stumped, reading short stories is really helpful because not only are they always super clever, they’re super concise too. And I’m not talking short like picking up The Rainbow Fish, I’m talking short like this one by Kevin Crossley-Holland and the even shorter “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn” by Ernest Hemingway.
- Talk about it - mention what you’re trying to do to friends, family, colleagues and see if they can lend a hand. You'll find a fresh perspective brings a totally different angle that you hadn't considered.
- Get creative, but, like, in a different way – sometimes I’ll be trying to write a blog and I end up drawing or writing a poem instead. Funny thing is, doing something that’s still creative but not on task can have a great effect. And who said your blog can't rhyme or be a picture?
- Spider Diagrams – they worked when you were a kid, so why not give them a try now? I'm bringing these back!
- Play a game – games like word association, Sell me this, famed by The Wolf of Wall Street, and the alphabet game can all be good for kick starting your mind.
So, fingers crossed, next time you struggle to get over that creative wall, this arsenal of ideas will be enough to give you a boost and get you back on the creative path.