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October 31, 2023

Unblocking the block in Q4

10 tips to overcoming creative block

The dreaded creative block is an all-too-familiar challenge for creatives. You’re at your computer, gazing at a blank canvas, the deadline looming closer as your stomach tightens with anxiety. Dealing with creative block is not only inconvenient and stressful, it often strikes at the most inopportune times, especially when you’re navigating the chaos and mayhem of Q4.

Let’s examine common causes of Creative Block – and it’s NOT ALL BAD NEWS.

  1. Fear of imperfection:
  • The most common cause of creative block is the fear of imperfection. As creatives, we are often terrified of not being perceived as ‘good at our craft.’ We set exceptionally high standards for ourselves, demanding nothing short of perfection.
  1. Stress and anxiety:
  • While some creatives thrive under pressure, many of us crumble. Whether personal or work-related, our emotional state plays a huge part in our creative output. Unfortunately, stress can hijack our brains, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand, leaving us fixated on our anxiety rather than our work.
  1. A levelling up period:
  • Creativity is an ongoing cycle. What you might interpret as a creative block could just be your next level of growth, not a roadblock. Shifting your mindset to this view can be freeing and calming. Yay for you! You’re on your way to new heights!

10 Tips to Unblocking the Block in Q4!

  1. Step away from the screen:
  • Like most creatives, we come up with our best ideas when we’re doing something else. When you step away, your subconscious often keeps working on the problem and will come up with new, fresh ideas. Taking a digital detox and doing something mundane like going for a run or even washing the dishes can give your mind a break.
  1. Organize your workspace:
  • A clean, uncluttered workspace often helps clear and unclutter your mind.
  1. Stop chasing perfection:
  • You’re just human. What’s not perfect for you might be incredible for others. Not everything you create is going to be a masterpiece. It’s also okay to fail. Learning from mistakes is how we grow. As Paula Scher wisely put it, ‘you have to be bad to get good.’
  1. Sleep on it:
  • Sleep, eat, exercise, and take breaks. As creatives, we often push ourselves to the limit, but an exhausted and hungry body won’t do us any favors. Sometimes, all it takes to spark a breakthrough is a bit of recharge.
  1. Break it down:
  • We’ve all been there, where projects seem insurmountable. Try slicing it into bite-sized chunks and conquer one piece at a time. Set yourself realistic goals and treat yourself when you achieve them. Sooner than you think, those bits will come together and create a masterpiece.
  1. Collaborate:
  • Collaboration is the secret weapon to creative block. Brainstorming with others can breathe new life into your ideas. You don’t need to go at it alone. Teamwork is where the magic happens.
  1. AI is your friend, not your enemy:

AI tools can spark fresh ideas, suggest creative angles, and even help you refine your work.

  1. Show up:
  • When you’re experiencing creative block, you might want to give up. DON’T. Creative block often comes in waves. One day you may be stuck, but the next you might see something new. Even if it doesn’t seem like you’re progressing, it doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. You could be just a few small steps away from your breakthrough.
  1. Shut out distractions:
  • Get your workspace in the zone by banishing distractions. Silence your phone, close any apps that could pull you away from your creative tasks. If you have an office door, close it. If you don’t have an office, put in headphones, listen to music, and put up that ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door!
  1. Push the boundaries:
  • Could your block just be the fact that you’re scared of the next step? Remember, this could just be your growth period. Try and figure out what’s holding you back, and then push through! Creativity is about courage.

In the creative world, creative block is a familiar visitor, dropping by unannounced on our creative journeys. There’s a certain comfort in knowing it’s a shared experience, not a unique struggle. It doesn’t mean you’re any less skilled, it’s just one of those things we all grapple with. Recognizing that the pursuit of perfection is a myth and that growth often emerges from these hiccups is key. So, here’s the deal – embrace these tips, lean on your creative team, and watch creative block transform from a roadblock into a stepping stone on your creative adventure.

Wendy Wade

Creative Director

Idea Engineers