Posts Tagged ‘overcoming creative block’

Well in a few months I will be speaking at a writer’s conference on the topic of overcoming writer’s block. As I started working on the handouts, I discovered that I am probably headed for more of a small book than a handout. I began going through this blog to cull themes for the book. In my ideal world I would like it to be 101 ways to overcome creative block. So far I have fifty and while that may be enough, I’d really like to make 101. Ironically, I am a little stuck. Here’s the list: What am I missing? Yes I know some of them may be a little vague, but I know where I am going… Hey there’s another one “Ask Someone/take a poll”!

  1. Start
  2. Don’t Wait for Inspiration
  3. Ideas are Money
  4. Go Looking for Trouble
  5. Jam
  6. Go for a Walk
  7. Get Away From It
  8. The Second Project
  9. Not Too Many Projects
  10. Have a Diversion
  11. Eliminate Distractions
  12. Find/Make Time
  13. Be Prepared
  14. Have Something With You
  15. Your Workspace
  16. Unleash Your Inner Child
  17. Collaborate
  18. Silence the Inner Critic
  19. Ignore the Outer Critic
  20. Brainstorm
  21. Change Your Medium
  22. Do the Hard Stuff First
  23. Fresh Eyes
  24. Change of Venue
  25. Keep it Simple
  26. Deadlines are Your Friend
  27. Break it Down
  28. Minimize Distractions
  29. Believe You Can
  30. Farm It Out (no one is good at everything)
  31. Look Outside Yourself
  32. Rest
  33. Decompress
  34. Avoid Comparison
  35. Redefine Excellence
  36. Start at the End
  37. Ask Lots of Questions
  38. Make It Better
  39. Do What You Know
  40. Who Do You Know?
  41. Remember When It Was Just Fun
  42. Talk to Someone Outside Your Circle
  43. Change Your “Glasses”
  44. What’s Your Motivation?
  45. Re-Organize
  46. Seek Your Higher Power
  47. Ask Someone/take a poll?
  48. What Will Happen If You Don’t Finish?
  49. Finish
  50. Ship It!
  51. Start Again

Yesterday, I had a post born out of creative block, in the process of writing that one post, another thought began to form. I spoke of starting even if you have no idea and seeing where it goes. I sometimes feel like I can hear the reader saying things back to me as I write, and the voice I heard as I wrote said “But I need an idea. I can’t just start out cold, I need a place to start. I need an idea.” The thing is I believe you already have one.

Oh it might not be a new bolt from the blue kind of idea, but I bet there’s one that’s been rattling around in your head that you’ve discounted for whatever reason. Maybe it’s a project you already started and got stuck or maybe it’s one that you thought of, but for whatever reason you just didn’t think you could make it work. Maybe now is the time to dust that one off and see how far you can take it.

One of the big questions I might ask is are you recording your ideas as you get them. If you’re anything like me, there are times where you get an idea, but you’re so backed up, you know you won’t be able to get to it. Do not just ignore that idea. Ideas have great value to creatives and letting them pass by is kind of like leaving money sit on the ground. Don’t do that. Take a moment and record your idea. Make a notebook or a file on your phone or whatever and keep it up to date. Then in those stuck times, when the ideas just aren’t flowing, go back to your records and see if anything appeals to you. Look for the one that appeals to you most and get started.

The biggest thing, again is to START something. It’s urgent that we finish what we start, but we’ll never finish if we don’t start. You have an idea already. You just need to bring your creativity to it and get to work.

Well here I am sitting down to write my daily post and my confession is I do not know what to write today. There’s no issue pressing on my heart and the things that are crossing my mind are unrelated and not what you come here for. This happens from time to time and I have a choice. I can skip a day or I can start to write and see what happens. Maybe I will come up with something useful. What’s the worse that can happen? I have to hit delete. Believe me when I tell you it’s happened before.

Maybe that’s the point of this. The way out of writer’s block or any other creative block is to start creating. After all there is nothing that is finished that was not first started. Sometimes you just have to start doing something and see where it goes. You would not believe how many pieces of my art have started this way. It’s not unusual really. Our musician friends will often get together and jam and before long their efforts turn into great songs that have blessed the world. This much I know. No one ever created anything great by whining about creative block.

In most of our art forms, starting costs very little. If I start a painting and it tanks, I just paint it over and start again. Sure I waste a little paint but the cost is minimal. Writing and digital art are even simpler, all you really lose is time. Now don’t get me wrong, time has great value, but I want to create anyway and I can learn a lot in a seemingly failed creation. Every time I start to work, I gain experience if nothing else and that will always beat sitting around worrying that I’ll never have another idea or subjecting myself to the frustration of social media.

This all goes back to my theory that inspiration is not something to be waited for. It’s something to be hunted down. So there you have it. No idea turns into almost 400 words of hopefully useful copy for anyone struggling with a creative block. Honestly though I could have broken it down into a much shorter message.

When you don’t know what to do, START!

(By the way, doing this also spawned the idea for tomorrow’s post.)

creativity kickersI know it seems like I am really cranking things out right now, and to some extent, I am, but truthfully this book has been written for six months, I’ve just been sort of agonizing over how to put it out. My vision was for this to not be a book at all but rather a card file system filled with creative prompts. The problem was to have that made would cost more than anyone would be willing to pay. Then, one day while working on another book, I got an idea. Publish it as a book where people can cut it apart into cards if they desire or leave it in tact and use it as a book. Here is the basic concept:

This unique book contains 500 creative prompts for artists/designers, writers, inventors and anyone who wants to expand upon his or her creativity. Designed in a unique card file format, the book can be cut apart and converted into a card file or left in tact as a reference. There are a multitude of ways this book can be used, from blindly picking a card and doing whatever it says to selectively choosing your next project. The idea is to kickstart your creativity, smash through creative blocks and get you creating.

I hope you like the book, but more than that, I hope it gets you over any creative hump you may be at and gets you back to creating great stuff. Click here to get your copy.