My work with many clients has showed me that creative blocks often get diagnosed as mental illness so being able to recognize and break through them can be life saving. It can even keep people from suicide.
Something important is consistency, having a daily creative practice that is done no matter what. Mine is daily writing every morning. Daily meditation and walks are helpful. I’ve had years of creative blocks but when you do daily creative practices no matter what, all of a sudden, the brilliant aha moment will come.
It’s important for creative people not to pressure themselves too much or push too hard, because ironically, trying too hard or getting impatient can lead to creative blocks. But most truly creative people know that the good stuff will come through when it does and we mostly need to be there with a net to catch it.
The most important secret to releasing creative blocks is to take care of yourself: your body, mind and spirit. Then the universe will know you are ready for more inspiration and art to come through.
Cleaning and organizing is very important also for moving through creative blocks. Every time I clean my car or my closet or basement, new creative inspiration happens. Looking the other way from the creative work is absolutely essential to breaking through a creative block.
Eating well, spending time with friends, even getting extra sleep can really help. Creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so blocks must be seen holistically. They are sometimes there because you need time to percolate or discuss the matter with someone else.
The people with the most creative blocks are the perfectionists who will never share their creativity or even create anything because it isn’t “perfect”. By practicing your creativity a little every single day, totally imperfectly, purely out of your own need to, you will set yourself up to beat any creative blocks, and more importantly, have faith while you are blocked, because you have proven to yourself that you will prevail against all odds.
2 thoughts on “Creative Blocks and How to Overcome Them”
Hi Chaya, I am asked this often also. I recall many fellow writers at college talking about being blocked and not being able to write. We used to talk about it in our classes since we knew we’d have students asking the same thing. One of my instructors talked about “framing” a piece, that is, deciding what it is and is not, where it begins and ends, and also, giving it at least a working title. A working title is one you give the piece just tentatively, giving yourself permission to change it anytime.
Framing doesn’t have to be done in the beginning. Some writers prefer to let a piece grow free-form, and then, make decision about framing. Others write an outline to start, then follow the outline as if it were a set of instructions. It most likely depends on the nature of the piece and the writer herself. I have done my writing many different ways, and experimented a lot, too.
As for writing longhand, they say it uses the brain differently than typing does. However, I am grateful for the keyboard as my handwriting is getting messier as I get older. I carry a keyboard to use on the road.
I even write during my two-hour commute to work, while on the bus. I love using the time constructively. Writing keeps the mind sharp. It is an active experience involving complex thinking.
I know the world of mental health does not encourage reading, writing, critical thinking, or succeeding at anything, especially anything cerebral, which means we all need to do tons more of it to piss them off.
Thanks Julie. I always appreciate your perspective as a fellow writer.