Sometimes, being creative just feels impossible. Whether it's getting started on a large project, or simply fighting your mid-afternoon fatigue, creative block is a common issue for many people in many professions.
With some projects, it’s getting started that’s the problem. With others, it’s smooth sailing for a time, but then you get caught on some small detail and everything comes grinding to a halt. Simplicable provides a great definition for creative block, describing it as "a period of time when the creative output of an individual or team falls to low levels. Unlike regular tasks such as cleaning a basement, creativity tends to have great peaks and valleys of productivity." Both of these situations could be described as creative block. It’s a problem that plagues almost everyone in a creative field. But you have ambition. You’re on a schedule, you’re on a deadline, the work needs to get done. What can you do? Fortunately, you’re not the only one to ever suffer through this problem. Many of the top artists and designers have also fought with—and overcame—creative block, and they have a thing or two to say about how they persevered. Keep reading to hear 15 different perspectives on beating creative block.
Sometimes, starting out by coming up with the worst solution can help you overcome inertia. The idea is to at least get started. — Master Subhajit .
Sometimes, the hardest part of a project is just getting started. Maybe you’ve built up a lot of pressure for yourself to create something amazing from the get-go. To break past that creative block, don’t worry about failure—don’t even worry about necessarily creating something that you’ll even be able to use. Jus start and go from there.
Similarly to Felton’s fear of failure, having deadlines set in stone is highly motivating to the right person. You may have a desire not to disappoint your client, or a desire to stay consistent for a fanbase that’s expecting updates. Whatever it is, deadlines have the power to minimize procrastination. If your creative work is a hobby, not a job, it may be hard to enforce deadlines. In this case, make those commitments to anyone who will hold you accountable—whether that’s an understanding friend, a creative colleague, your spouse, or an expectant fanbase.
Try to recreate the work of others that you admire. Try to figure out their process secrets, how the work is put together? Writers do this-they retell the stories they love, musicians rewrite the musics they love and want to hear.
"Whenever I’m faced with that kind of ‘doubt’ or ‘block,’ I just drop my pens and take a break. Breaks can be weeks or even months of not doing anything related to drawing. Once I feel like I’m really missing my craft, that’s when I get back to drawing with enough creativity and eagerness to create something awesome without any doubts or creative block."
Like Basford, Rosanes’ policy is that you can’t force creativity to flow. A break isn’t something to fear—consider it time to collect yourself and recharge for a new attempt. Even if that break is for a few weeks or months while you try something new, whenever you feel that passion again you will find that the creative block has been lifted.
On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you just have to put in the time. Writers are infamous for this, some rising at the crack of dawn day in and day out, chipping away at the next great American novel. If new material isn’t coming to you, go back to what you’ve already created and see if there are revisions to make. Or just take McCabe’s advice and create something bad—at least then you’re creating something.