How to Overcome Creative Blocks in the Post-COVID-19 Economy and Beyond

 

We've all been there and we may even be there right now!

As creatives and decision-makers, there is the need to perform at optimum and better your capacity continually. The possibility of struggling to get in the groove heightens with all the current events around the world. A creative block is a scary encounter for anyone. It can usher emotional episodes of self-doubt and tension.

Accepting anything short of excellence is never an option for a lot of creatives for understandable reasons. There are four main reasons creatives don't accept less than perfect:

  1. You; The first reason is that you know your capacity and can easily tell when your output is below that level. There are processes you have been through a thousand times, so the frustration is understandable if you find yourself struggling to do it correctly.

If you're a creative in the fashion industry, your intuition is one of your sharpest tools, so imagine the frustration if you find yourself struggling to make necessary intuitive decisions.

  1. Your audience or customers; having groomed your customers with the best standard your industry has to offer, and getting great reviews, expect them to get used to a level of output. Negative reviews from your clients can lead to frustration.

 As a content creator, you are the first consumer and lover of your work. Once your work is published, you are anxiously awaiting validation from your audience. One well-constructed critic is sometimes all it takes to get cold feet.

  1. Competitors; every business oriented creative must be in tune with the latest innovations and trends in their industry. You do not necessarily have to jump on every new trend, but staying abreast with the latest in your niche helps you understand your consumer's current appetite. If you get caught in market disruption, your talent would not be enough to save you, which can lead to a creative block.

Creatives like chefs, bakers, and brewers in the edible industry pride themselves on their taste buds and their ability to recreate the magic every day; on the other hand, consumers are most loyal to their taste buds and not their chefs, bakers or brewers. Any change in your process, personnel, recipe, or your competitors' can lead to significant disruption.

  1. Situations and emotions; turbulence has its way of distorting a creative flow for some, while for others, turbulence helps them reach their optimum. British singer Adele is prolific for writing relationship breakup songs, much that some fans were sad to hear the news of her marriage and became happy again upon the news of her divorce. Sad but true.

Business executives take pride in their decision-making abilities. For some of them, their office is where they perform best. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unusual circumstances not faced by many. As such, you may find that you are feeling stuck and unable to move forward at this time.

Research-Proven Hacks to Handle Creative Blocks

 

For some people, getting in the groove is as easy as taking a nap; for others, it may mean a few months or even years vacation away from their craft.

Below, are some research-proven tips to overcome creative blocks.

1. Set a creative routine and stick with it

A Dutch publishing company Elsevier examined 27 writers, divided into three groups. The study found that the group of writers who had a consistent work-time pattern recorded the highest level of creativity.

Link to study

Not only did developing a routine increase their output, but it also helped them generate new creative ideas. The other group of writers who waited to be in the mood or avoided writing witnessed insignificant improvement in their struggle to generate new ideas and up their creativity.

Key Takeaway;

It is not always about the volume of output for creatives but mainly about the quality of the work. However, committing to a routine might help. In setting the ideal time, you must consider the time you are most efficient, among other factors.  Also, forgive yourself if you can not perform at optimum, but never refuse to try again.

2. Take a break

A theory by Graham Wallas, the co-founder of the London School of Economics on the four stages of the creative process, buttresses the need to step back. He believes that being in the best frame of mind will produce the best result. He believes it is best to take a break rather than compromise on the quality of your output. Graham outlined the creative process to include;

  • Preparation means that the creative mind is forming thoughts and gathering virtual or physical resources required for the desired output.
  • Incubation; at this point, the creative person is working on the actual product or service.
  • Illumination; at this point, the desired result is brought to light.
  • Verification; at this point, the creator is satisfied with the output and ready for feedback.

Graham also advises power naps and vacations.

(Link to study: https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/08/28/the-art-of-thought-graham-wallas-stages/

Key Takeaway;

The need for creatives to be in the right frame of mind cannot be overemphasized. Although it is essential to stick to a routine, it is also important to get enough rest. If you ever feel taking a break from work will get you back in the groove, then go for it. The mind continues to unconsciously process whatever you're working on even during breaks.

3. Walk

Henry David Thoreau, an American philosopher, is quoted to have said, "Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."

A Stanford University study examined and compared the creative levels of people sitting to that of people walking. The study found that waking increases our creative output by 60%. (Link to study: https://news.stanford.edu/2014/04/24/walking-vs-sitting-042414/?hn). The difference between participants who took their walk indoor in comparison to those who walked outdoors was insignificant.

Key Takeaway;

The next time you hit a creative block, try taking a walk, regardless of where you are. 60% is a lot to gamble with, and if it works for you, it will be a massive boost. Besides the general health benefits of walking, make it a habit to boost your morale and help you overcome a creative block.

4. Switch your scenery

An article by The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2010/mar/14/why-travel-makes-you-smarter?page=all) highlights several scientific studies backing the theory of scene switching. Changing your scenery is an effective way of getting your mind to restart and concentrate. Change of scenery can be a redesigning of your workspace or a vacation to Millan; it might even be moving to a new coworking space. Something as tangible as switching your desk location or in the case of a culinary pro, where your utensils are kept, can be very beneficial.

Key Takeaway;

At times, it can be very tiring to return to the same scene every day, see the same people, and do the same thing. Our mind forms its thought from things we see, feel, and hear, most of which stem from our immediate environment. Adjusting these things will lead to change in thoughts too. So, if you hit a blank page, whether you're finding it hard to concentrate or finding it hard to reach your peak, consider a change in scene.

5. Use a notebook

In his book, 'No excuses,' Brian Tracy outlines several studies supporting the benefits of taking notes. In his book, Brian refers to new year resolutions and how everyone verbally pronounces their resolutions. Only 17% have their plans and resolutions written down. Scientists say those who write plans and thoughts down are 78% more likely to implement them.

Besides the fact that our brain registers any information we write down more concretely, we can reference anything written down.

Key Takeaway;

Taking note is at the epicenter of all the above-listed methods of overcoming creative block. Using a notebook to jot down exciting thoughts, observations, and inspiring quotes makes future reference and implementation easy.

Forms of Creative blocks

There are different types of blocks a creative can encounter, two of which are;

  1. Production block: this happens when you set an aim to create something of value. At this point, the mind might go blank; you might feel physically tired anytime you try or even mentally drained.
  2. Innovation block; this happens when you struggle to create anything unique. This problem occurs to even the biggest of corporations and businesses.

 These methods are not a one size fits all solutions. You need to find what gets you in the zone. However, jotting things down, taking a walk, taking a break, changing your environment, and developing a suitable routine for your creative process will do no harm but good for you. So, simultaneously trying these hacks will be the best idea.

Creative blocks are normal, and they happen to the most exceptional creatives, so there's nothing to panic or be ashamed of. Once you figure out why you hit the block, implementing the recommended solutions become more natural.

 Are you feeling stuck? What have you been trying to complete but have found yourself unable to finish?

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Skills to Dollar Bills® is a Business Branding and Consulting Agency that supports creative entrepreneurs to turn your talents into profits. We provide assistance in the areas of personal branding, digital marketing, online course creation, and business skills development. To learn more, visit www.skillstodollarbills.com/moneymaykahs

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