15 Proven Ways to Overcome Creative Block from Today’s Top Experts

By: | Updated: May 31, 2015

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creative writingIf you haven’t heard about Breakthrough! Overcome Creative Block and Spark Your Imagination yet, it’s time to check out this awesome book.

It is your panacea from both writer’s and creative blocks when you are having trouble writing your blog post.

Alex Cornell, a designer, and a musician, asked experienced professionals – artists, designers, writers, composers – about how they overcame their creative blocks. He gathered their answers in the book, and you have a great chance to follow your gurus’ examples and deal with the inspiration, motivation and procrastination issues that don’t let you work creatively, effectively and productively sometimes.

There are more than 90 pieces of advice in this ‘cookbook’, but I’ve decided to smooth things down for you and chose the 15 most proven ways from today’s top experts in their creative fields.

Enjoy! And may the inspiration be with you!

1. Paul Madonna, artist, and writer

“Draw blindfolded.”

This exercise is very simple: you draw something without looking at the paper. Concentrate the glance at the thing you are drawing; it’s like drawing blindfolded when you do not see what you are drawing.

How does it work? Drawing blindfolded saves you from checking lines during the process itself; it saves you from criticizing yourself because you can’t criticize yourself for anything done blindfolded.

Such drawings look like worthless sketches, and yet they have some graceful imperfections and inexplicable beauty.

2. Camm Rowland, executive creative director(Digital Kitchen)

“Drink coffee before going to bed.”

This advice doesn’t sound logical from a medical point of view, but we are not doctors here, right?

Coffee does not let you sleep; you will lay in your bed and think of everything. That’s what we need!

Write down everything that comes to your mind and re-read it all in the morning: 75% of your writings will look worthless, 20% will seem funny, but 5% will be totally gorgeous!

3. Christian Helms, owner of Helms Workshop

“Change perspective.”

One of the best ways to avoid creative block is to admit you have a problem and give a new meaning to it. Try to look at your creative task from a different perspective: what would be a decision if this product intended for dogs, not people? What if a restaurant was decorated like a movie?

Try to look at your creative task from a different perspective: what would be a decision if this product intended for dogs, not people? What if a restaurant was decorated like a movie?

Changing perspective and approach, we can find unexpected and unique solutions.

4. Chaz Russo, graphic designer

“Listen to music.”

Once you feel a creative block, you should restart your consciousness.

First of all, get up and leave your workplace even if you have a deadline. Find a new room, a new place where you can sit and rest. Turn some music on.

It will help you draw a new picture in your head. When you do not have words to describe your thoughts, such an exercise can be very refreshing.

After listening to some music and drawing a picture in your head, you will be ready to take your notebook and make a new sketch or to write something new.

5. Blake Whitman, ex-creative director (Vimeo)

“Take a walk!”

The most creative moments come when you spend some time among nature. It might be not easy to do, especially if you live in a big megalopolis such as New York. Although it can be difficult to travel, you can always try to change your surroundings. Take a walk to some park or just peer at images of Yosemite… Maybe it will help, who knows?

Although it can be difficult to travel, you can always try to change your surroundings. Take a walk to the park or just peer at images of Yosemite… Maybe it will help, who knows?

6. Ji Byul Lee, creative director (Facebook)

“Take a shower and clean your room.”

Take a shower for a long time: you’ll think a little differently in a shower somehow.

Water washes old thoughts away, and you feel refreshed.

Then, do the cleaning. Lee confesses he can’t think clearly when it’s a mess around. The chances are, cleaning will help you organize your thoughts and come up with new creative ideas for your work.

7. Claire Dederer, writer

“Closet yourself in an expensive hotel.”

This tip only works if you’re a little low on money. Check into an expensive hotel for three days. Bring everything you need to excite yourself (sweets, coffees, bourbon, books –

Check into an expensive hotel for three days. Bring everything you need to excite yourself (sweets, coffees, bourbon, books – reading helps you make writing better, etc.), give the key to the reception clerk and ask him not to disturb you and not to give you keys, no matter how persuasive you beg.

Now write ten thousand words. If you feel you can’t deal with this task – just think of the money you’ve spent on just sitting here and staring at the wall.

8. Alexi Murdoch, musician

“Do something.”

Here is top 10 from Alexi:

  1. Take all watches out of your house.

  2. Do the same with mirrors.

  3. If you live close to water (lakes, rivers, etc.), take a dip in it.

  4. Do not think about the future.

  5. This of the audience as if they were your enemies.

  6. Give up all food for a while.

  7. Take photos of strangers in a local second-hand store.

  8. Remember, there are 168 hours in a week.

  9. Download some creative application for your mobile phone.

  10. If nothing else helps, cut your forefinger.

9. Simon C. Page, graphic designer

“Find your beach.”

Anyone who visits Simon’s blog on Flickr knows he spends more time on the beach than beach-rescues usually do. This is a place where he feels most comfortable.

It’s very important to find your own beach – wherever it is – and go there as often as possible. Always take a notebook, even if you do not have any thoughts to write right now: its presence can generate new ideas.

Always take a notebook, even if you do not have any thoughts to write right now: just its presence can generate new ideas.

10. Pixel artists of eBoy

“Enjoy your crisis.”

11. Thomas Doyle, contemporary artist

“Read Wikipedia.”

Wikipedia is an inexhaustible source of random facts that helps with generating new ideas. Start reading something, and move from one page to another. New information can push you toward something new in your work.

New information can push you toward something new in your work.

12. Mark Jones, illustrator

“Imagine yourself as an opossum.”

Imagine yourself someone or something else: a chef at the restaurant, a pilot, a hot dogs seller, or even an opossum. How do they look at the world?

Such an exercise sounds strange, but its task is to help you look at the problem from a different angle. If you need to stand on your head and imagine yourself an opossum to come up with new ideas – just do it!

Each of us has a genius inside, and we only need to wake him up.

13. Tim Hume, illustrator

“Spend some time next to a washer.”

Give up everything, go and wash your clothes. Tim confesses that when he sits and looks at a running washing machine, his thoughts calm down and come to order.

Tim confesses that when he sits and looks at a running washing machine, his thoughts calm down and come to order.

14. Tom Muller, graphic designer

“Watch TV.”

The best way to clean your mind might be some routine work: go shopping, read comics, or watch TV.

Tom Muller believes the home shopping channels to be the best variant to watch when you experience a creative block: they do not provide any serious or philosophical information to think about; thus, they can be a perfect variant to relax and clean your mind for new creative design ideas.

15. Graphic designers from The Heads of State

“Eat spicy food.”

Nothing cleans your mind (and makes a man cry) as much as spicy food. After you’ve eaten a very spicy dish and cried over it, all your problems might seem trivial.

Tell me in the comments – what’s your favorite way to break through writer’s blog?

Lesley Vos is a novice writer and in-house blogger for Bid4Papers. She is a guest contributor to many blogs, including Pick The Brain, Getting Smart and others; she writes a book at the moment, enjoys travels, and can’t imagine her pastime without reading something interesting and inspiring.

by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.

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