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Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles: How to Overcome Creative Ruts

How do you overcome creative block? It’s a simple question, but one that we wrestle with as creatives over and over again. Just when we think we’ve found the answer to move past a current rut, a new challenge arises. Feeling stuck happens to all of us—newly minted graduates, creatives early in their practice, mid-career practitioners, and seasoned pros.  Although I help creative professionals get unstuck frequently through my work as a career coach, I decided to turn to the internet for help answering this question: How do you overcome creative block? More specifically, I asked my Instagram followers, who generously shared practical tips, what helps them move forward, how to preemptively tackle getting stuck, and questions for further exploration when creative block strikes. *** Preemptively write out your creative tasks.  Benjamin Welch (@benjaminwelch) shared a new approach he’s been trying, which he’s found helpful so far. “I write out my creative tasks, but do this the night before rather than the day of or right before I start. Then my only decision required is to check the list and start doing something on it. This way I’m not relying on my mood or inspiration to give me ideas and I don’t have to feel pressure to come up with something on the spot.” Instead, he looks at his list, picks something, and starts. The idea that you shouldn’t wait for inspiration to arrive was echoed by Kara Gordon (@kayessgordon), who said, “I try to remember to not wait for inspiration to strike to make art. Not every mark or work needs to be precious. It’s about the process.” Shake up your routine. Multiple people embrace the philosophy that changing things up, literally, can be effective by giving you a break and allowing you to still engage your creativity, but perhaps in another way. Kara Gordon shared that letting go of her routine can also help her move forward, whether that means taking a different route to work, going to a museum, or meeting a friend she hasn’t seen in a while. “Seeing and experiencing something new can allow you to shake up the patterns in your brain.” Michaela Fiasova (@michaelafiosova) often works on more than one project at a time so she can switch in between them, and when she’s at a standstill, she’ll sometimes watch YouTube videos about something completely unrelated to her project. Indhira Rojas (@redindhi) also takes this approach, switching to a completely different task or activity to clear the mind, even if it’s recreational, “in the hopes that a new insight arises that sparks a new wave of creativity.” For Danielle Evans (@marmaladebleue), the ultimate goal is having some kind of output to build momentum: “I swap disciplines. Sometimes output is output and that’s all that matters.”  Reconnect with your physical self.  One of the most suggested tactics for overcoming creative block was to do something physical, whether it’s as simple as a brisk walk outside as suggested by Nicole Jacek (@nicolejacek), or as involved as taking a long swim as Anne Stark Ditmeyer (@pretavoyager) does, “The swimming pool is one of the places where my best ideas come. They flow. It feels counterproductive to getting work done, but the key is unplugging from my computer and screens.”  Karoleen Decastro (@karoleend) likes to take her physical activity a step further and said that,  » Read More

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