The Creative Block And Overcoming The Demons Within
Who hasn’t heard of the creative block? It is the very bane of the creator’s experience. Be it an artist, a writer, a screen-writer, a photographer or a film-maker, everyone has days or weeks when they seem to have hit the wall and the creative juices stopped flowing. From moments of frustration to panic and self-doubt, you start beating yourself up for the dreaded creative block and want to throw in the towel.
Unfortunately, inspiration is not an on/off switch. There are many underlying reasons for a creative block. Sometimes, the timing is simply not right. At other times you are burnt out and need a break. Each artist perseveres to create something better and more successful in every attempt. Sometimes this quest for perfectionism puts undue pressure on your psyche and you lose the objectivity to view your work.
So how do you vanquish this age-old enemy? The first tip is quite simple. Don’t fight it. Accept it as an occupational hazard. A writer’s block or an artist’s inability to paint is simply a creative soul’s pre-emptive defense against critique.
Once you have acknowledged the problem, you can start working on identifying the underlying cause. Is it because you are afraid of failure or rejection? Has your last success created unrealistic expectations or set the bar too high?
Or are you simply exhausted? As a film producer and cinema-buff I have witnessed the kind of pressure and self-scrutiny artists go through. Yet, this rumination is necessary for the artist to thrive.
One clever way to tackle this bout of inertia is to mee the challenge head on. Just do it, whether it is good, bad or ugly and review it later when you seem to be out of the funk. Not only will it help you to keep the flow of work going, you will spend less time thinking about your creativity challenges.
Often your drab environment might be the culprit that is zapping your inspiration. Rekindle your creativity by changing your environment. Visit a café or a restaurant that plays live music or a park nearby where you can rejuvenate amidst the sounds of nature.
Many artists swear by the blue-sky thinking approach to recharge their batteries. Essentially, what this means is that you brainstorm and allow yourself to go wild without being grounded in limitations or reality. Blue sky thinking believes and rightly so that some of the best ideas are not random flashes of inspiration but rather the result of a process, where you don’t shut down any thoughts or ideas as inconceivable. In a blue-sky thinking approach, you ask yourself questions that break the walls of conventional thought and open up new ways of approaching a task.
For instance, “How would this script work if our audience were aliens?” it is totally wild and unexpected but often leads to fresh bursts of creativity and sometimes game-changing ideas.
Another great hack to overcome the creative ennui, is to use Mind mapping. If you haven’t heard about it, mind map is an innovation technique that requires you to lay out all the crucial pieces of the puzzle. It is a visual thinking aid that enables you to organize information and helps you analyze, understand, synthesize and generate new ideas. Here, information is not structured in a linear format rather in the way our brain actually works. The beauty of creating a mind map is that it is both an analytical and an artistic activity – providing stimulus to both your right and left brain. Plus, it is fun!
But one of my favourite tools or techniques that break the creative block is meditation. Using mindfulness one can switch on divergent thinking and creative problem solving. It also fosters courage and resilience in the face of negative thoughts and setbacks.
Do you suffer from creative blocks and anxiety? Try some of these tips and you will find new sources of inspiration and creativity within yourself.