September 26 2020
Chances are, you, or a creative that you know has at some point been scared or intimidated by the creative process. It’s a process that one needs to allow themselves to experience, and it is certainly not reserved for the newbies in the industry; luckily there are many ways it can be combated. When reading your favourite book, it is easy to assume that the work just poured out easily and freely for the author, just the way you see it in the book. The reality is that the author probably went through a million and one edits and had points where they felt stagnant even though the end result makes it hard to believe. What’s great about this analogy is that it shows you that the creative space is not linear–however one can still make the most out of its turbulent stages. Expect it and prepare for it so you can be in the best state of mind to beat it. Here are 5 research-proven methods that can help you get out of the strange yet very normal phenomenon of creator’s block.
An Elsevier study conducted research on 9 writer’s who considered themselves to be experiencing a writer’s block and were in pursuit of going back to their free flow of ideas. The study found that one of the best ways to impede a creator’s block is to designate a time in your day to be creative. This was proven to be more effective than completing whatever task is at hand spontaneously because it completely averts the “I’m waiting for inspiration” excuse. In essence, all you need to do is just write, draw or do whatever your medium is, at this point there is no pressure to produce your best work because you can always revise it. The goal is to just create.
This may sound like a paradox but it’s very common for one to lose their groove at some point and there is no point in forcing the creative process to work out immediately. Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives author Adam Kurtz advises that you do something else while ideas float in the back of your mind until you are ready to put in all the work. Give your brain a little break and you might be pleasantly surprised at how energised and full of ideas you may be after the recharge time.
What is really great about inspiration is that you can find it anywhere, even outside of the visual arts which you have immersed yourself into. Get inspired by the work of fellow creatives, even if their work is completely different from what you do it can help one with many more ideas. Psychologist Graham Wallas outlined 4 stages of the creative process they are namely, preparation,incubation, illumination and verification. The incubation stage plays a significant role in inspiration because it entails a period in the creative process where a creative gets involved in a different task and forgets about their previous unsuccessful attempts. They then eventually go back to what they were doing initially but from a different perspective which leads to a solution. Don’t ever be intimidated by exploring other creative disciplines!
You’ve probably heard the saying “a cluttered room is a cluttered mind” and although it may seem as a scary revelation one should understand that the state of their space is undoubtedly a measurement of where you stand mentally. There is scientific evidence to prove that negative feelings and unproductivity is triggered when one is surrounded by clutter. That being said, you do not necessarily have to be a neat freak,however, having things in place can certainly work wonders for your productivity, one is able to focus and it increases the ability to think creatively.
There are many moments when we do not have access to a journal or a sticky note,though in this era where our phones are literally always at hand, try to make an electronic note of whatever idea comes to mind. It does not even have to be coherent, just write anything to help those creative juices overflow. Perhaps you can go outside and observe the faces that you see, random observations, pretty much anything that will help remind you of moments that can help you cultivate your art.
Creator’s block is inevitable. There’s no way to prevent it, yet as mentioned-above, there are several ways to embrace it and they can encourage you to love the creative process more than you had ever imagined. Don’t be hard on yourself when it does happen because it is almost impossible to create content everyday without running dry eventually. So what do you do next time when you find yourself sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike?
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