Creative block

How to embrace and work through creative block

Hmm… where to start… 

Just joking! However, being a full creative agency, it is a no-brainer that our employees will each hit creative blocks at one point or another. Whether it be one of our graphic designers, digital marketers or web developers, each of us have external pressures and circumstances that can lead us to experience a bit of a brain blockage from time to time. 

With that being said, with our line of work, it is pretty important that we are able to push through and still deliver excellent outcomes that make our customers extremely happy

So, if your brain has decided to put you through a bit of a creative hiatus at the moment, you aren’t alone! We are here to help you embrace, work through, and even make the most of your creative block. That’s right, you can even use it to your advantage…

What is creative block?

Creative block is the temporary inability to generate new ideas, produce creative work, or make progress on ongoing projects. It can be frustrating for creatives, and can lead to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Just because it’s inevitable, doesn’t mean it’s not still challenging!

What causes creative block?

There are several factors that can contribute to creative block. Let’s take a look at a few of them: 

  • A lack of inspiration – this can stand in the way of creatives thinking of unique ideas and hinder the creative process. 
  • Striving for perfection – a very common flaw in creative people in particular. It can lead to overthinking, which can make it difficult to complete a project. 
  • External pressure – not always something you can control, but can affect your creative flow nonetheless.
  • Fear of failure – this can create anxiety and self doubt which can halt creativity. 
  • Overworking and continuous stress – often referred to as burnout, this can lead to mental fatigue which makes it difficult to engage in creative thinking.
  • A mundane process – using the same process on repeat, without variation, can lead to boredom and the inability to think of fresh ideas.
  • Personal problems – again, not in your control but can still divert attention away from the creative process and make it difficult to engage in the workload.

How to work through creative block

If you’re like us here at Milk & Tweed and you rely on creativity as not just a hobby, but your source of income, it’s likely that you will want to find out how to overcome your creative block as quickly as possible. Oftentimes, the best way to push through your creative block depends on what is causing it. There are a few different techniques that you can try, so let’s  run through a few of our favourites – hopefully one of them will work for you!

Gather inspiration from various places

I asked our Head of Design, Jamie Lawton, for his best piece of advice for overcoming creative block as a graphic designer. His answer – gather inspiration. This doesn’t necessarily mean trawl the internet or spend hours flicking through those logo books you bought after university but have hardly used since (however we have a portfolio of beautiful design, web and marketing projects that can be used as inspiration!)

Inspiration can hit in the strangest of places. Take a walk. Read a book. Watch TV. Go for a long drive. This might sound cliche, but you will be surprised what enters your mind when you’re not necessarily looking for inspiration. It could be a logo on a billboard, or as simple as the way two flowers cross each other in your neighbour’s garden. Whatever it is, you’re likely to get the start of a brilliant idea when you stop forcing yourself to think of one.

Try a digital detox

Following on from our previous idea – for graphic designers, writers and other creatives, so much time is spent in front of a computer screen. Sometimes all you require to get the creative juices flowing again is to grab a sketchbook and a pencil and head away from your desk. Give your brain some breathing space. The act of scribbling down ideas with an actual pencil will allow you to look at things from a different perspective.

Take on a monotonous task

Washing up, changing the bedding or reorganising your bank statements – not what you’d necessarily expect us to tell you to do when you have a tight deadline and you’re currently staring at a blank screen. However, sometimes all you need is to completely clear your head, and these boring, monotonous tasks allow you to do just that. As well as this, doing repetitive tasks that you’ve been putting off for ages will probably leave you craving some creative work.

Break the project down into smaller tasks

If you’ve got a large project to complete, such as a full website or large document to design, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Looking at it as a whole will seem a lot more overwhelming and daunting, but if you split it into small tasks that need to be completed over a longer period of time, you should find yourself speeding through the workload. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Take care of yourself

Personally, we find that the best work is produced when we are well-rested and well-fed. Staying up all night and skipping meals to finish a project is not healthy, sustainable, or the best way to complete a good job. If you’re experiencing creative block, make sure that you are sleeping and eating properly. Have a snack, take a nap, and prioritise yourself over your work. You’ll likely find that your creative juices come flooding back after you’ve spent a bit of self-care time.

How Milk & Tweed can help

Creative block happens to the best of us. If you’ve tried all of these techniques and still find yourself hitting a brick wall (metaphorically – of course), why don’t you reach out to our friendly creative agency for some help?

Get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements and discover how we can help you!

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