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10 Tips for Overcoming Creative Blocks

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

Blocks. Rocks. Sidewalk chalk. What?! “Okay, I’m leaving this blog!” Hang with me - see now your neurons are blasting off in all directions.

If you’re human, chances are you’ve experienced a creative block. The grey wall of doom as you desperately search for a door, tool, dynamite, ANYTHING to get to those open fields of inspiration once again. You’ve come to the right place! Here are 10 (count em!) tips that if you put into practice can help you overcome a creative block:

1. Play!

Turn up the music and get lost in a dance party right now in your room, make a funny TikTok, write a scene for a movie and act it out, play a quick game with a friend, or even grab a basketball and shoot hoops! Play gives our mind a break and is connected to the growth of our creative capacities.

2. Freedom to Fail

An important part of ideation is the freedom to fail. Quiet the inner critic for a moment and write out every single idea as though it has the power to change the world. A successful brainstorm session requires all humans at the table to feel safe enough to blurt out thoughts the millisecond they come to mind. The ideas may not hold weight under careful review but when you do circle back with a critical eye you’ll have a much larger list to look through and at least a few exceptional ideas to test rather than none at all.

3. Go Outside

Time in nature can help humans recover from “directed attention fatigue”, helps our mood, focus, and helps our creativity. Roger S. Ulrich, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, led a study and found looking even gazing out a window at nature helped hospital patients heal faster. So take a little breather, stroll the neighborhood looking at the trees, find the beautiful details in plants, smell the flowers, or if you’re in the middle of winter currently, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a luscious grass flowing field.

4. Experience Something New

Children appear to have endless storehouses of creativity and this is largely attributed to their entire experience of the world being new. Go to a part of town you don’t normally go to, read a book in a different genre, order a dish you've never tried, book a trip, move all your apps around on your phone (perhaps a more annoying change), or anything to get your neurons firing in new ways!

5. Spend Time With Others

Connecting with other creatives and sharing can normalize the feeling of a creative block, provide strength, and deliver relational nutrients. Inspiration from how others have broken through their blocks could provide innovation as well. Who knows, perhaps someone else’s lens on how they see the world may be completely opposite of yours and spur you into and completely new mental territory!

6. Don’t Fight The Block

Occasionally, you may simply need a brain break. Giving yourself grace in the moment relieves the pressure that stifles ideation. Our mind can do incredible things during rest. Studies show that giving your mind even 10 seconds of rest when learning something new allows *the brain to replay that same activity sped up by a factor of 20, improving the participants overall learning and application by a factor of 4.

7. Do Something Boring

This sounds counter-intuitive. Yet, have you ever wondered why your best thoughts happen in the shower? There’s far less brain function required in a familiar and safe environment while you're also using memorized motor functions. Your mind will be free to aimlessly wander through thoughts free from an agenda or usual distractions.

8. Just Do It!

“MAKE! YOUR DREAMS! COME TRUE!” - Thanks Shia LaBeouf. Simply put, at times you need to clock the 10k hours, flesh the idea out, and make the best of it. The greatest artists, problem solvers, and innovators of our world, had thousands of ideas that the general populous never saw. They had to put in the work and sift through the plethora of ideas to find the truly incredible gems within.

9. One. Step. At. A. Time.

Perhaps your new idea is absolutely MASSIVE. New projects or life changes can feel overwhelming and may cause you to shut down entirely. Breaking down a large process or a multitude of ideas (like this blog post) to the basics of what needs to happen today, allows our mind to see the work as possible.

10. Experience Flow

“Flow”, the “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best”. The flow state of mind not only impacts the very moment experienced and it even was found in a Harvard study by Teresa Amiable to flow over (#dadjokes) to a “heightened creativity for the long haul”. So dive into a ping-pong match, grab a soccer ball, go rock climbing, or do something interactive where you’re fully immersed in the moment.

*Buch, Ethan R. et al.

Cell Reports, Volume 35, Issue 10, 109193

We hope your life after reading this blog, your life bursts with even greater color and possibility! If anything here has been impactful for you, we want to know! Message us on instagram (@humancreativecoaching)!

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Check out our additional blogs here or read more from our posts on Creativity:


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