6 Steps to Beat Creative Block

creativeblock1. Acknowledge it. You can’t fix the block if you don’t acknowledge that it’s there. So sit, dwell, and mourn the loss. If you’re me, that means writing a moody blog post about how my creativity is shriveling up inside me that gives AB’s roommate “the feels.” A lot of people will say that when there’s a block, just walk away and it’ll come. This is the time to try that approach. And when that doesn’t work, keep reading.

2. Consume, consume, consume. Just because you’re having a tough time expressing creativity doesn’t mean you can’t absorb it. Soak up everyone else’s inspiration to tap into at a later date. Read books, scan Pinterest, search Google for “how to beat creative block” (oh, hi), read through blogs, shop for clothes, eat fresh foods—all things that I find creative.

3. Ask for help. Creativity is a two-way street. When I was younger, I used to sit with my mother and hash out ideas. And even now, I love participating in group brainstorm sessions. Other people are a great springboard off which to bounce ideas. For me, this step meant reaching out to Captain America for some blog ideas, and reaching out to my parents to help fund my participation in Alt for Everyone—both will spur additional creativity and get the ball rolling!

4. Plan. If the words still aren’t coming, then there are still steps you can take to prepare yourself for when they do. I took the time to work with Captain America to build a preliminary editorial calendar, and look up unique holidays for the coming year to include in my planner as clever “news” pegs. I also signed up for Alt and am mentally preparing!

5. Cleanse. If this list were just for me, step 5 would simply be “clean.” I find that I can’t do anything creative—write, cook, paint, sing, think—when things are dirty. In my family, it’s called “Blue Rug Syndrome;” we had a blue rug in our living room and when it was dirty, the whole house looked dirty. This is similar—when my surroundings are cluttered, my brain is. So I clean. But this can also mean cleaning out any toxic excess, going for a run to cleanse your mind (or whatever). Anything that wipes the slate clean for a fresh start.

6. Now go. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, sit down and work at your art. With the planning from step five, you should have some springboards to work with. But sit down and try. Think of this as intense interval training. Write or work for 15 minutes and then take a break for 10. But still use the break time proactively. Read, go for a walk, look through old photos, do yoga, stand on your head for all I care—anything to mix it up and stir the imagination. Then put that imagination back to use.

Best of luck! Do you have any bad experiences with creative or writer’s block? How’d you overcome it?

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