If you’re a creative soul (and we all are in one way or another), you know what it’s like to hit a wall and have no more words or ideas coming to you.
Here are 10 ways to break through that wall and reach new creative heights.
Endorphins aren’t magical, but they fuel a lot of fires. Through physical movement, you can change your energy not only in your body but also in your mind.
If you regularly exercise, try breaking out of your usual routine and trying something new – yoga, Pilates, team sports. By physically moving in a new and unique way, you may also find new solutions or creative inspirations.
Trying to drag sparks of creativity out of a fatigued mind is never a good idea – that way lies severe caffeine overindulgence and late-night pizza runs.
Studies show naps can boost your mood, improve performance, and create better focus. Not to mention your dream state can provide you with even deeper insight or inspiration. Take a quick nap and wake up re-inspired.
A lot of (too many?) creative practices are worked on alone. Having a group of fellow artists – either in a similar field or different fields – can help keep you grounded.
If something is weighing heavy on your mind, it can be extremely difficult to be creatively inspired. Share your ideas and get some inspiration.
4. Project jump
You’ve been beating your head against a wall on one project – put it down for a while and go work on another one.
Studies have shown intentionally switching from one project to another or simply scheduling intentional breaks can increase creative ideas. This lets ideas incubate in one part of your brain while the other part is working on the new project.
Even if you’re a photographer, painter or sculptor, getting your thoughts down on paper (or in pixels) can help you wrap your brain around an idea. It’s a more effective way of talking to yourself, where you can learn from the ramblings that bounce around your mind.
Bonus points for writing longhand – a study published by the Journal of the Association for Psychological Science reported that writing with pen and paper instead of typing helps to increase creative thought.
6. Time yourself
All the blog ideas you can write down in 30 seconds! GO! This can help weed out the quantity over quality filter that often clogs the creative process.
Get it all out there as fast as you can, with the understanding that editing is for later.
7. Do the dishes
This sounds like a way to either avoid your work or punish yourself for not getting it done, but repetitive chores like this are similar in many ways to meditating. It gives your brain a chance to explore without the pressure of being in front of your empty project.
8. Reward yourself
So you need a constant stream of encouragement as you write (or shoot, or paint).
Written? Kitten! is a site that can help. For every 100 words, you can set it up to get new picture of a kitten, a puppy, a dolphin, or a beautiful landscape. The open source site lets you select photos from Flickr tagged with the search term of your choice.
9. Get new input
Get out of the house and go somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be far, but if you can make it somewhere that you haven’t been before, you’ll have a better chance to engage and distract your brain with new input instead of brooding about that project you can’t get a handle on.
10. Embrace a failure
Being creative means you see possibilities. But those possibilities don’t always lead where you think they might (in fact they rarely do).
It is important to recognize your ideas are not you; if an idea doesn’t work, it is not a reflection of you so don’t beat yourself up. Surrendering to a creative idea not working may be just the liberation you need to move on to the next idea or creative endeavor that will succeed.