Creative block can strike at any time, and whilst it is a completely normal part of the creative process, it is no less frustrating when it happens.
So what do you do when inspiration fails to materialise? Getting inspired and nailing down your ideas can be a tricky task, so we’ve pulled together some tried and tested methods to beat the block.
Regardless of whether you have a super exciting project in the pipeline or a deadline looming, getting those all-important brainwaves going can be a real challenge.
Everyone battles with mental blocks at some stage in their creative lives (many people suffer frequently) but that doesn’t mean it’s game over.
Have a look through some of these tried and tested ideas to get the creative juices re-flowing:
1. Get back to nature
It’s not just an old wives tale that being surrounded by trees and all things green is good for you, it’s often cited as a great way to start feeling inspired.
Take a break and treat yourself to a walk outside or even a sit on a quiet park bench and you’ll be surprised how good it feels to clear your head.
It’s no coincidence either that office blocks often have pot plants dotted around, as the colour green is supposed to ramp up the creative part of the brain.
So if in doubt get a bonsai!
2. Distract yourself
If you’ve been sat there for what feels like weeks to no avail, then do what normally you shouldn’t do and create a distraction.
This is not about task avoidance, but more about giving yourself some space away from the matter in hand, allowing you to come back to the task with a fresh head.
Now is the perfect time to wash those dishes, watch an episode on Netflix, make yourself a cup of tea or even get the hoover out if you need to. The break will give your subconscious time to process.
3. Create your own inspiration
If your vision is not forthcoming, then give yourself a little helping hand by making sure you have inspiration at your disposal.
A collage of images, film clips, magazine cutouts and fabric swatches are great for lighting the idea-fuse.
Of course, you can get ideas from just about anything or anywhere, so wherever you’re working, make sure you have plenty of interesting objects and visual stimulus to get the brain tingling.
4. Think outside of the box
This may be one of those annoying buzz phrases, but there’s clearly some truth to it and thinking about the task-at-hand in a new way could be really beneficial.
Perhaps you’ve used all your go-to design/sewing techniques countless times and now they don’t excite you. If this is the case, now’s the perfect time to try something new. This doesn’t have to be drastic either, it could be something simple like switching to pastels instead of paint or hand sewing instead of machining. The change of stimulus will get the brain firing in a slightly different way and could be the key to unlocking your creativity.
If you have the time, there’s really no harm in experimenting.
5. Experience something new
One way to increase our brain power and capacity for creativity is to expose yourself to new things and experiences.
This can be anything from riding your bike in a new place, taking a trip to somewhere new or trying your hand at a new skill like sushi making for example (just throwing that one in there).
Whatever you choose to do this is again about getting the brain out of its habitual patterns and creating new pathways in your grey matter.
6. Set yourself a deadline
This might sound strange but if you don’t have a specific deadline in place already, setting one yourself could be a great way of creating time-frame and sense of urgency around your project.
Setting yourself a completion time or date will enable you to put just the right amount of pressure on yourself and stop you stretching the task out into eternity.
7. Immerse yourself …in water
We’ve already discussed the pros of surrounding yourself with inspiring paraphernalia, but what about just simply taking a shower?
We’re not saying you haven’t showered for days while locked in the idea-zone (we’re sure you have) but sometimes just standing under a shower when your brain is fried is a great way of giving it a reset.
8. Exercise, exercise, exercise
This one is an oldie, but a goody and has a little bit of science behind it too. Getting the body moving, increases blood flow, thus increasing oxygen to the brain along with a nice rush of dopamine.
Both of which could be hugely beneficial in maximising your thinking power and setting yourself up for a day of productive work.
9. Tune in
This doesn’t mean tune in even harder to what you’re doing, cause yourself more stress as you try and force ideas out of your brain, and then collapse in a frustrated heap.
No, it simply means stick some tunes on and let the music guide you. It has long been suggested music can aid concentration or even work as a key to trigger pathways linked to memories in the brain.
Something with a solid repetitive beat can be great for concentration, while music that evokes mood can be a fantastic creative boost.
Just make sure you choose something you’re not going to get completely distracted by otherwise you might just sack off the work and end up singing Abba into your hairbrush all afternoon…
10. Get some rest
It goes without saying you need to take proper breaks and regularly, as well as making sure you switch Netflix off at a decent hour and get yourself some proper shut-eye.
For every hour you put in you should try and step away from your workspace for a few minutes, even if it’s just to stretch your legs or grab yourself a drink.
Using something like the Pomodoro technique can be a great way of keeping yourself at your most productive and creative.
Finally…If in doubt just do something
If you’ve tried all of these and capturing that ever-elusive inspiration is still proving to be an impossible task, then try this….just do something.
This can literally be anything. Make some marks on your paper, pick up that needle and just go for it.
Have a go and don’t worry about having a specific plan of where it will take you. Some of the greatest ideas and inventions have come out of simply trying things out and seeing where they end up.