13 Weird Ways to Work Through Creative Blocks

Yesterday, I wrote about how creative blocks are not necessarily a bad thing.

Okay, you may be thinking…

Now what?

I’ve acknowledged that sometimes I need to stop and listen, but what do I do next?

Lego blocks for creative blocks posts
Photo credit: Lars Plougmann (Creative Commons)

Creativity is a funny business.

And it requires funny solutions when you’re experiencing problems. We all need a renewed vigor or passion for the work that we do from time to time.

Why should art be any different?

Now, we’ve all heard the typical answers of “listen to music” or “spend time in nature.”

And that’s all well and good, but even those things can become a bit passe.

That’s the challenge with creativity.

If you’re not always doing something new to reinvigorate your spirit, thing can get rote pretty quickly. When you fall into routines, part of your creative self may begin to wither.

It gets bored and lazy.

And eventually it starts to die.

So how do you keep the “romance” alive in your creative life?

Here are 13 counter-intuitive ways to work through a block and keep that “creative spice” fresh in your spirit (with some links to other helpful articles and resources):

  1. Quit. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is give up.
  2. Leave your desk. Get away for awhile and do something wild like draw with crayons or play with LEGOS.
  3. Assess yourself wholly, not just the creative part. Don’t just treat the symptoms; address the root problem of what’s blocking you.
  4. Stop avoiding. Pull up a chair and listen to what the Block has to say. Have a conversation with it. Don’t reason with it, but hear it out. Listen and learn from it. And then move on.
  5. Face your fears, whatever they may be. Whatever it is you’re afraid of, do that thing. Even if it has nothing to do with creativity.
  6. Do something completely unrelated to your discipline. If you’re a writer, paint. If a photographer, draw. You get the idea.
  7. Move around. Kinesthetic learning has been proven to work.
  8. Laugh out loud. No, I don’t mean writing that meaningless phrase “LOL” on your computer screen. I mean to literally laugh. Loudly. Really cool stuff happens to you physiologically and mentally when you do this. In particular, it relieves stress.
  9. Go for a photo walk. Just take pictures of random things and look at what you find afterwards.
  10. Watch The Matrix. It’s chock full of symbolism. Plus, I just love that movie. Remember: there is no spoon.
  11. Go on a diet. Often, one kind of discipline begets another kind. Plus, all those trips to the fridge or lounge can add up.
  12. Fast from technology for a day. That’s right. Get off the dang Internet.
  13. Dance in front of a mirror. (Why? Um, because it’s weird… and it gets your blood flowing… and it’ll probably cause you to do #8 uncontrollably.)

Weird enough for you?

Seriously, the more I think about this, the more it bothers me: Why do we so often solve our problems with creativity with uncreative solutions?

Why do we solve artistic quandaries with math equations? It doesn’t make sense.

Whatever you do to get unstuck or re-inspired, why not exercise a little imagination, even have a little fun, and risk being a little weird?

What’s the worst thing that could happen? You could get laughed at.

What’s the best thing that could happen? You just might fall in love again.

Further reading: Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking?

Not weird enough?

What strange way to work through a creative block do you have? Leave your own in the comments.

*Image credit: Lars Plougmann