The creative process is something very delicate. It varies from person to person, from creative to creative. For everyone it is different, yet there is a common denominator that these people share; Creative blocks.
Creative blocks are one of the most intrusive forces working against us and they come in all shapes and sizes. They are deadly to the point where some of them may even cause us to question ourselves in the creative world and whether we belong in it or not, whether we should have listened to our parents when they told us to become the neurosurgeons or lawyers like they wanted us to be.
There are many factors that can contribute to why we might have difficulty creating, from failed relationships, financial hardships, emotional struggles and overwhelming anxiety from school, your “real” (notice I use that term loosely) job and the general social pressures that build stress and distress. Throughout our collective journeys, we all have our own needles and spikes on the road. Some will be more difficult than others, some will seem too impossible to breach, and a few will make us flatline, but there is definitely hope.
While there isn’t a definitive guide on how to overcome creative blocks, there are a few things we can keep in mind that might shed light in the dark tunnel of our blindness:
T A K I N G A S T E P B A C K
Remember to take a step back from everything that you’re doing and fully encompass what it is you're doing, and by that, I mean look (introspectively) and ask yourself, “What am I doing? What am I really doing? Why am I doing it? What is the purpose of all of this?” If it becomes too difficult to answer those questions concretely, it may be time to switch up your modus operandi and focus on something a little different (or something related to your craft in the mean time) until you can return to that question with a little more comfort.
If you still can’t answer that question, then you might have to go a little deeper. Start with why you’re doing what you’re doing, and see if it is still making you happy. I know this might be a very sensitive area, because for many people over time they feel their passion becomes so routine that they barely recognise the joy their craft once gave them.
S T A R T I N G O V E R
What’s really difficult for people is starting at square one when they’ve taken too many steps in the wrong direction, but starting at square one will refresh and replenish you in a nostalgic sense-the same sense of euphoria you felt when you first discovered your craft.
A C C E P T A N C E
If there’s anything I learned, that it’s okay to have a bad three weeks in your life. It’s okay to have a bad three months in your life. Hell, it’s okay to have a bad year. It happens to the best of us, regardless of circumstance. We have no control over it, for the most part. We do, however, have a choice of how we react to it. Whether it’s taking a complete break, calling an old pal, looking over some of your accolades for motivation or simply ignoring everyone and everything for a few days, not because you dislike people, but because you need space to breathe, you deserve it. Nobody will think you’re selfish, and if they do, then find a new squad.
Words by Daniel Diasgranados (@Carving_)
Images taken from “Creative Block Exit Strategy Survival Guide” by Collateral.