Scott Hansen has compiled a great list of tips and ideas to break out of the dreaded creative blocks we all encounter at one time or another. 25 different creative professionals all give their take on how to get back into the groove when faced with creative obstructions.
Here’s one remarkable example from Christopher Simmons of the MINE graphic design studio:
To me there are three factors that contribute to creative block: One, believing you’re stuck. Two, knowing you’re stuck but not knowing how to get out. And three, knowing you’re stuck and knowing how to get out, but doubting your ability to do it. Here are my solutions, respectively:
1. I ask myself, am I really stuck? Sometimes we think we’re stuck or we want to think we’re stuck but we’re actually on track and just don’t know it. Some paths are inevitable. Remember, a rut is also a groove.
2. I do nothing. Being stuck is usually a matter of not seeing the problem clearly. The best medicine for that is perspective. I measure perspective in units of time and distance. Getting a away from a problem helps give me better view of it. Instead of flailing away I’ll do something unrelated — like go to a museum or watch a movie. Inevitably, something in that other experience presents itself as the answer to the problem I’m trying to ignore.
3. I become awesome. Sometimes I’m faced with a problem to which I know the solution, but executing on it just seems too hard. One trick I use to get over that feeling is to work on other, easier tasks. They don’t have to be related — finally touching up that paint above the office light switch, finishing a blog post, organizing the garage are all fine examples. Taking on a bunch of little things that I can do quickly (and well) puts me in the mindset of being able to accomplish things. Then when I come back to that insurmountable problem it’s just the next task to check off the list. No more anxiety.