Whether your chosen medium is writing, visual art, film, music, or something else entirely, a lack of creativity seems to devour us all at one time or another. And so, we decided that we wanted to share some of our favorite ways to overcome the feeling of being blocked.
Here’s our list of suggestions for what to do when you’re stuck with creative block:
- WANDER – Whether it’s walking around the block or driving with no destination in mind, take a chance to enjoy the scenery around you and give your mind some space to drift. Sometimes the chance to meander is enough for your mind to reboot a little bit.
- BATHE - We all know that the greatest of ideas seem to come when we’re in the middle of a shower. Perhaps a clean body leads to a clean mind? Whatever the case, lather up and see what your mind will come up with.
- LISTEN – Put on your all-time favorite album. Or search for something entirely new. Try Jazz (it’s known to spark creativity) or something sad (maybe it’ll bring out all the “feels” that you need).
- SLEEP – Dreams often awaken original ideas in our subconscious, so take a quick nap or let a night’s worth of sleep bring out all your spectacular ideas.
- OBSERVE - Camp out at a park or a coffee shop and try out some people-watching. Imagine what other people’s lives are like and what sort of conversations they’d have. Stepping outside yourself can help open up your perspective.
- MAKE A CHANGE – Sometimes you need a little change to feel closer to yourself. We’ve found that there’s nothing quite as transformative as a new haircut. Try that, or if you’re not feeling that adventurous, just try out a new style. Whatever it is, find something that brings out a new side of you.
- TIDY UP – Reorganize your closet. Do the dishes. Start a load of laundry. Dust behind the bookshelf in your room (because seriously, look at all the dust back there). While it may just feel like you’re procrastinating, doing mindless little tasks like these will help you feel productive and will give you the boost you need.
- TRY – We often feel the pressure to come up with the perfect piece from the get-go, but it’s really impossible to be brilliant from the start. So you’ve got to just start somewhere. In the wise words of Anne Lamott, most people start out simply making a shitty first draft, because this will eventually lead to a good second draft and a terrific third draft.
- EXPLORE – There are whole worlds to be seen between the aisles in a library, the shelves of an antique stores, and the exhibits of a museum. Take the time to explore a new world and find something new that interests you.
- WATCH – Let Planet Earth play in the background of whatever you’re doing and allow the soothing calm voice of David Attenborough relay the circle of life (plus, those mating bird dances are pretty inspiring). Other great options of things to watch: How It’s Made, Abstract, Chef’s Table, and, of course, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.
- ENGAGE YOUR SENSES - Light some scented candles and let the smells recall forgotten memories. Eat some juicy fruit to help you feel fresh and awake. Engage your kinesthetic side and notice the textures of everything around you. Look and listen to all the things you so often take for granted.
- FIND A LUCKY SPOT – We’re firm believers that certain spaces can bring us luck when we start to get stuck. For us, those spaces have been the 5th floor of the library, Sparrows and Lantern, the nature preserve, and our front porch. Find your own lucky spot and see what that space has to offer.
- LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE – Sometimes you just need to do something other than trying to write or design or compose or draw or edit. Find some way to get your mind off of creating, and finish your project in little spurts.
Katie Ulrich + Emma Carpenter