Whether you’re working on a professional or personal project, there are just some days, even weeks, that we feel as if nothing is coming out. For some reason, we just can’t seem to break out of creative roadblocks. It feels that our creative juices have dried up and we can’t seem to move forward, and we end up just end up feeling stuck, frustrated and unproductive.
Everyone goes through this at some point in our lives and struggles to break out of creative roadblocks. But instead of just waiting for the rut to pass and giving way to procrastination, there are ways to break out of those creative roadblocks and move forward towards success.
Our list of tips to help you break out of creative roadblocks
Here are ten tips to help you get those creative juices flowing once more so you can stop dallying and start creating:
- Get Rid of Distractions: The Internet is such a wonderful invention, in seconds you can find out the meaning of obscure words or learn about the science behind carbon dating. But it’s also a great source of distractions. You may think you’re just taking a well-deserved mental break by clicking on that funny picture, the next thing you know you’ve been watching funny cat videos for five hours. Don’t let yourself fall into a black hole of distractions. Close out all social media pages when you’re in the process of creating. If you have an article you’ve been wanting to read, bookmark and then close. Keep only what’s necessary opened up on your screen, whether that be your word, spreadsheet or graphic design program and let that be your only focus. This is a key step to help you break out of creative roadblocks.
- Don’t Expect a Smooth Ride: We always think something is easy and then we embark on the creative process and suddenly everything seems to go wrong. At this point we start to lose confidence and we feel as if we can’t accomplish the task at hand. So before you start, condition your mind that you’ll be working hard and we have to put in everything we’ve got and it may even take a long time. This way you can already anticipate any roadblocks and are mentally prepared to get past them.
- Know that Nothing is Perfect: Perfectionism can really be the greatest creative roadblock. Leaving no room for mistakes causes us to keep second-guessing decisions and in the end nothing is done. If you’re writing a novel, just let the words flow out even if you think it’s not such a great plot or the prose is too cheesy. You can always go back and improve it, the important thing is you’ve started creating and then you can work towards making your project better.
- Create Your Solitary Space: Whether you’re working at home or in an office, there can be so many outside interruptions, from chatty co-workers, to little children running around. Find a way to create a solitary space for yourself where no one can interrupt you. Let people know that you’re working on something so they will not disturb you and put your phone on silent so you won’t be distracted by an incoming message or call.
- Being Tired is All In Your Head: Sometimes, we are in fact genuinely tired. Other times, we’re just looking for an excuse to stop working. Recognize when you’re absolutely tired or when you’re just looking for a way out. If it’s the latter, remember that the mind is stronger than the body and push yourself towards working.
- Be Careful of Mental Breaks: Taking some time to meditate or read something for leisure is not a bad thing, but when your break turns into hours and hours of procrastination, then that’s just a creative roadblock. If your mind does need to rest from creating, give yourself a time limit and stick to it.
- It’s Okay If You Don’t Know How to do Something: Sometimes in the middle of a project we discover a task that we’re not familiar with. Don’t let that deter you, not everyone knows everything. If you need to learn it first, find a mentor or even just a tutorial or you can even skip it for the moment and leave it for later so you can move forward with tasks you can do for now. The important thing is to not let it discourage you to the point where you’ll just give up and throw all your hard work to waste.
- Don’t Wait for Time, Make Time: We always hear the “I don’t have time” excuse, more often than not from ourselves. The thing is the process of creating doesn’t have to be a daylong event. We don’t have to wait for a day when we have absolutely nothing to do to start with a personal or professional project. Make time in your day for creating. Cut off your time on social media or reserve that Breaking Bad marathon for another day. Just an hour or even half an hour of creative work will help you accomplish so much.
- Don’t Put Yourself Down: One of our biggest roadblocks in creating is ourselves. We think that we just don’t have the skills and talent to accomplish something. If you keep thinking like this you’ll never get anywhere. Give yourself a pep talk and trust that you can accomplish the task in front of you and don’t let the negative thoughts get in your way. Think about it, not everyone started out great at what they do, but they developed their skills and talent because they kept going and didn’t let the voice in their that said they can’t do it win.
- Don’t Be Afraid of Failure: People tend to stop trying to accomplish their projects because they think it’s going to fail anyway. This leads to a lot of unfinished creative work and a lot of untapped potential. We also lose the chance of learning from our mistakes. Just because we think something might fail doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time. It could lead us to new ideas or even new creative avenues to pursue so keep working.
As a final note, always think about the reason you’re starting your project and what you want to achieve and let that drive you towards your end goal.
Share the ways you break out of creative roadblocks in the comments below!