Getting Unstuck… Ways to Smash Through Creative Block #YourTurnChallenge Day 5

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

by Dave Weiss

Yesterday I posted about building your creativity. A lot of what I posted then could really come into play here as well. It’s great for me to tell you how to get creative, but what do you do when you’re stuck? We creative call it creative block. You stare at the page or the screen and no words come. You stare at the canvas or the block of clay or marble and you can’t see the angel ready to be released. (if you don’t get that reference, it’s a Michelangelo thing. Watch The Agony and the Ecstacy and the whole thing will be really clear.) What do you do when you’re stuck?

1. Look for the resistance. Are you really stuck or do you have an idea and fear is holding you back. If this is the case, press in and do it.
2. Start: Just do something. Take the first flighty, weird thing that pops into your head and start. You can always abandon it when the better idea comes, but who knows maybe the flighty, weird thing isn’t so flighty and weird after all. I’ve heard more than one speaker say it’s easier to steer a moving car and that is absolutely true. I can vouch for the accuracy of this one, because to be honest when I read the question of the day, I had no idea what to write. I just started writing.
3. Give your inner critic the day off: The inner critic is just another name for the resistance. Ignore it and keep going. Keep an open mind. In the beginning of the process, there are no bad ideas. Once you start working you will be able to see what is working and what isn’t. Press on in the ones that are working and store the ones that aren’t (they might just be ahead of their time.
4. Change of venue: Sometimes your creativity is stifled by your environment. Pick up and go some place new. If you can’t do that, change something about the place where you are.
5. Seek inspiration before you need it: Figure out the things that inspire you and keep them on hand, Music, video, coffee, images, whatever it is. Look for it ahead of time and keep it on hand as a way to break your creative block. I’m creating a new creativity resource right now. I was stuck until my wife turned the TV on and different images I saw sparked a ton of ideas. A lot of times TV is a distraction for me, but in this case, it worked.
6. Find a way to store ideas: I try to never be more than 20 feet away from either my sketchbook or my laptop. When inspiration comes, I write it down or sketch it out. These are not necessarily completed pieces, but I record enough that I can go back to them in a “drought” and put them to work. I have shelves full of sketchbooks, and I fill about three every year.
7. Collaborate: Sometimes the best way to break the block is to work with another human being. You might be working on the same project or just working together on your own projects. The reason this works is simple. Sometimes you’ve just been looking at something for too long or too committed to your idea. A fresh set of eyes can help as can trading problems. It’s often easier to solve problems we’re not in the midst of.
8. Take a walk: Sometimes you just need to step away, clear your head, get away from the problem for a little while. A brisk walk really clears my cobwebs. Find what works for you and do it.
9. Work on something else: Yesterday I mentioned always having two projects going. I’ve often found that solving a different problem or working a different project will help me to refocus.
10. Clean: You can usually tell how prolific I am being by looking at the condition of my studio. The bigger the mess, the more I am doing. (Right now it looks like a bomb went off and I am happy.) After a while though, this can become a detriment. You can no longer find things you know you have and know you need or the disarray is effecting your relationships with people around you. You just have to take the bull by the horns and clean it up. (Caution: If you find yourself cleaning for too long, look for the resistance because this can be a major avoidance mechanism.)
11. Pray: I debated about putting this in here, but it’s one of the things I do and it works for me. Hopefully, for me, it’s my first choice.

The point is creative block is not an excuse and we can all get past it. These are some of the things that worked for me, Find what words for you and get unstuck!


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