Here are five things that can help you in creative block busting. At least they work for me most of the time when a creative block is rearing its head:

  • Start with the familiar – What forms / styles / characters / media are the familiar ones that always work for you creatively? Use them to get started. (As the cartoon suggests, when I have a creative block about something to draw, a cow or a growling dog usually shows up on the page first.)
  • Do something mindless – Start something productive that requires no creative energy to get your mind off the block. (For me, that’s usually some type of data entry or spreadsheet work.)
  • Perform very yes/no or close-ended tasks – Find things with clear right & wrong answers (math, puzzles, etc.) and work on them. (I will often create flow diagrams for something I’m working on that force yes/no points or provide only a couple of choices at each step.)
  • Go where you’ve gone before –Return to a setting where you’ve been creative before or get out tools that have stimulated ideas to bust a previous creative block. (It’s Sharpie markers, a blank piece of paper, and starting to write or draw bold lines to get me going.)
  • Create a variation on the theme – Modify something you’ve done or build off of somebody else’s creativity. Start working with it, but vary it in increasingly bold ways until you’ve moved into creating something new. (For me, that may be drawing cartoon characters in unusual settings or searching Google images for offbeat pictures that convey what I’m trying to say.)

Those are five potential blockbusters. For a bonus 6th creative blockbuster, here’s a link back to a previous post. And share a comment on what you do. Happy creative block busting!– Mike Brown

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