How to overcome a creative block
Ah! (Horrible scream of terror) A blank page! It’s looking at me and I don’t know what it wants from me, what it wants me to say, what do I tell it? (desperate scream as you run in circles)
If you’ve been within seconds/centimetres of madness for scenes like the one you’ve just read, stay. If not, come back when it happens because, believe me, it will happen. Anyone who dedicates themselves, whether for hobby or work, to the noble art of creation, knows that inspiration is an elusive mistress that you can’t shake off just as you can’t shake her off as she leaves without leaving a note and with no intention of calling. So let’s stop with the drama and let’s find solutions.
Before we get into it, I should add that if your problem is laziness, I recommend a different kind of solution. If it is by choice, you need a professional and not a post.
Let’s skip the routines you have to follow in your daily life in order not to fall into a mental block. They worth nothing now. It is too late to talk about schedules, routines and emotional balance. You’ve already fallen, now it’s time to get up and get out.
Create by creating
Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do to get out of a creative block is to create. Before you close this article and curse the day I was born, read on. Try writing down what’s happening to you. You’ve stumbled into a bit of a rut, but you haven’t forgotten to talk or write. So write down how you got to that point. Tell yourself, because believe me no one else cares, how you woke up this morning, how you noticed your slump, what it makes you feel, remember those wonderful moments of absolute inspiration when even the sound of a fart attracted a thousand lines, drawings and thoughts of pure magic. At this point it can happen that either the light bulb lights up in the middle of all the crying, or nothing happens at all. If you are going to tick option B, I recommend that after writing everything I have told you, go to bed. Like good rice, let it rest. You will see how a relief of that magnitude added to a good rest will make you wake up as good as new.
Arts, come to me
If you can’t breathe, you come up for air. As logical as it is vital. If a wave rolls you into the sea, you forget all your dignity and you don’t care if you lose your swimming costume, what you want is to get out of that washing machine looking for oxygen. So, if you lose inspiration, look for it in what inspires you. It could be anything from reading Bukowski to listening to Adele or watching the most awarded adverts in the history of television. I don’t know. But the most important thing is that you don’t let yourself be devoured by that little monster you’ve created in your head which threatens to destroy your psyche. So start harvesting great inspirations from the world of art, music or literature.
Whatever you like
If you are into yoga, tai chi or inner retrospection, go ahead. The same goes for any other activity. Paddle tennis, Monopoly, FIFA, LOL, whatever. Also, if you’ve never done sport in your life, don’t go running to the gym now and get next to the creature that screams the loudest so you can imitate it and give yourself a good workout. That won’t do you any good. Well, it will mean you won’t be able to tie your shoes or wash your head for at least three days. In short; Blocking = Leisure.
Pee and poo
Invest several minutes in taking care of your needs, don’t let your future self take advantage of them. Get up, take a walk and on that journey drink water, have a snack, go to the toilet and answer WhatsApp. In some extreme cases a quick cleaning of the work area should be added to this list. There is nothing cleaner than a student’s desk during exam time. They will do anything to avoid studying. Well, you are the same right now. That’s it, don’t use excuses. If you don’t do something, do it because you are blocked, not because the universe is preventing you from moving forward. The first step is to recognise it, and you will realise it as soon as you have your needs covered.
How many times have you been told to be yourself? Well, right now, as in most of the times you try to flirt, it doesn’t work. So become a 7 year old. Enter the age of Why? Be the pride of José Mourinho (reference only for footballers). Break down your current state with the attitude of a child, the kind of child that asks you everything; why is the sky blue? Why are the snot green? In this case, take it to your own territory and answer yourself.
Why am I blocked? Because I can’t write
Why not? Because I can’t think of any ideas.
Why can’t I come up with any ideas? Because I try to think and I can’t
Why can’t you? Because I think I’m tired.
It is a somewhat rudimentary but effective representation of the final objective we are pursuing, which is to make a small analysis of yourself to find the origin of all the hell is devouring you. I’m talking about the blockage, the other traumas will have to be seen by a professional.
Perfection is suffocating
The phrase is not mine, I wish, it’s Horst Matthai Quelle’s. But he’s right, perfection can be a horrible thing. Details and the pursuit of perfection are something that can either help you or stagnate you. If you’re in a creative fervor, what’s the difference between margins, scribbles or scratches? Get on with it and then you can sort it out. If in the midst of this frenzy you stop to detail and polish, you will only sabotage yourself. As Roberto Fontanarrosa said; “Perfection is obsessive. And that is a defect.” On the other hand, we can benefit from this. If you find yourself stuck, retrace your steps. Read and review what you have already created and try to improve it. That will get your mind working again and from that, if you can concentrate, you can get pure gold.
What would we be without memories? Jean Paul, the German writer and humorist, used to say that memories are the only paradise from which we cannot be expelled. So delve into them. Reminisce about trips, friendships, old loves, big questions like, what would have happened if…? Reminisce and play with your memories. That will awaken something deep in your soul that will want to come out. I hope this will help you to create again. Advise of the day; if this exercise has helped you to miss your ex, take my advice, don’t call him/her, it’s a bad idea.
Get out of here! It smells closed, and it’s not me, I think it’s you. Maybe it’s your ideas getting damp, or maybe it’s just the poor ventilation. Either way, get out of your room or office. Now. Go out into the street, walk for a while. Observe your surroundings, let yourself be enveloped. And when you get back, take a shower. Not to call you dirty like that, but science has already been able to explain why we get so many ideas while showering or bathing. It’s quite simple. One of the basic factors for creativity to flow is distraction. When we are enjoying our bath, we sing, dance and close our eyes, cancelling the external stimuli and focusing on the internal ones and suddenly ….. Magic!
Row & Commotion
If bathing in solitude, accompanied only by your deepest thoughts doesn’t work or you simply can’t stand it, we go to the other extreme. Go to the hustle and bustle, physical and digital. From going to bars at rush hour to getting into facebook groups where even the followers of the same subject skin each other alive for any nonsense. Sit on a bench where you know people go to have a snack at break time. Look at them and watch them, try not to let them notice you because it can be quite violent and you can ruin someone’s lunch. Shopping centres are another breeding ground for people, with their moods, their way of walking, talking and all with their peculiarities. Look around and let people inspire you.
Is that how people do it?
You’ve asked yourself that question a few times. But you must find your style. Find your perfect place. The creative process is like sleeping, everyone has a method and a way. Some people do it in a minute and in any way, others need absolute silence, others need stimuli around them, while some need to be with someone who does the same. Try the scientific method with trial and error and find your way. In that search, besides benefiting you in the future, it might just get you out of the little rut you see yourself in.
To sum up
You have to try everything because we are not all the same. There is no infallible and universal remedy, so we have tried to bring you a wide enough range to be able to help anyone. To compile; try finding inspiration by describing what is happening to you or letting others do the talking and listening to yourself, picking up a good book or your favourite record.
Another option is to do whatever you want. Get out of the way, whether it’s people-watching, without going so far as to get arrested for harassment, playing a game of basketball or poker with your friends, getting in the middle of half a million people on the underground, or walking alone in the streets of your town.
Before you do all this, remember to eat, drink, go to the toilet, and all those things that can distract you. Question your own existence, question it ad infinitum, look at your own creation again with the eyes of one who sees it for the first time. Let it take you to past memories and let them take you to other places.
Last but not least, take a shower. For yourself, for your inspiration, for your family and for those around you.