Beating Creative BlockPosted by Steve on March 26 at 10:08 am
Anyone who’s reading this right now has probably experienced “creative block.” If you haven’t, you’re either lying or I really want to meet you! No matter what you’re designing–a necklace, a bedroom, a dessert platter, or lesson plans for an 8th grade literature class–chances are, you’ll have to get un-stuck some point.
This happens to me all the time while I’m working on the Lima Beads web site. I mean, there are only so many times I can draw the Lima Guy before I start running out of ideas! There are creative minds all around me, but sometimes I just need to bear down and beat the block.
Here are five tips from my experience.
1. Put on headphones. To really get in “the zone” I need to ignore the world around me. I prefer music that has an ambient, rhythmic quality. Too many lyrics distract me. Remixes are good. Long songs are better than short, choppy ones. And pick a playlist before you start–relying on “shuffle” mode kills the flow!
2. Look at old photos. Photos are a great tool. They elicit memories and they’re great exercise for the brain. They’re full of color, light, and character. I believe great design touches the emotions, and photos can bring out those feelings when you’re bored and blocked.
3. Take a walk. My college friend Marc has spent years in graduate school studying the brain, and his research shows that getting out of the city and talking a walk in nature has measurable, positive effects on your memory and your mood. Count me in!
4. Use a pen. I have a lot of pencils, but every time I draw with one, I just end up erasing everything. Pens (or markers) force you to be deliberate and confident. Your strokes mean something. And starting over on a new sheet of paper will just lead to new & different ideas.
5. Sleep on it. Have you ever woken up with the perfect design in your head? Happens to me all the time. But I rarely have that “ah-ha!” moment after five hours of continuous work. When I give my brain a little rest, it always surprises me later.
Your mileage may vary, but I hope these tips can get you thinking about ways to beat creative block. Do you have your own strategies? Share your tips in the comments!