We’ve all had them. You’re sitting at your desk, staring at that blank white rectangle. The one on your screen is more likely than the dead tree variety these days, but the feeling is the same. 

You’re blocked. How to begin?

  1. Read. Doesn’t matter what. Put someone else’s voice in your head and eventually your brain will start a conversation.
  2. Move. Try working in a different environment—outside or at a coffee shop or wherever. Stimulate your senses with something you don’t usually have around.
  3. Stop. Getting up and doing something else when you’re blocked feels like procrastination, but it might be just what you need. Stop staring.
  4. Write. Okay, you’re blocked. Write about why. Write about how. Write about how it makes you feel. You’ll get there.
  5. Play. Don’t work on your project, just play for a while in your medium. Draw. Write something silly. Design something ridiculous. Make yourself smile.

Whatever gets you where you need to go is necessary to your process, even if it doesn’t feel like you’re working. Don’t feel guilty if what you need is to be doing something different for a while.

Blocks do happen to everyone, but I try to prevent them by creating a calendar of ideas. In the zone, ideas come fast and furious, so I immediately schedule them for later. That way when I get to that one day when I just can’t think of anything, the calendar tells me what to do. And if a better idea has come along, it’s easy to switch everything around. After all, I’m in charge. Always having something in my pocket to use on a day when I feel less than inspired means I can always give myself a nudge to get going.
What do you do to get unblocked creatively? We would love to hear all about it!
Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative