At one point or another, all artists are confronted with the same issue: a creative ‘block.’ It’s as though all of your artistic energy has been drained, and your ideas feel tired (if the ideas come at all). But, even the toughest dry spell can be surprisingly easy to shake off. If you’re struggling to come up with your next great idea, here are five effective ways to beat a creative block.
When you’re confronted with a creative block, staring aimlessly at your computer screen or scrolling through your social media feed most likely will not help the situation. Try completely powering off, whether that be for a day, a few hours, or even a few minutes.
Take Jonathan Williamson, Co-Founder of CG Cookie, for example: after opting out of a formal education and going completely off the grid, he was allowed the time to experiment freely. Williamson told Shapeways Magazine, “In the early days I invested 8-10 hours a day in teaching myself…what it did do was allow me to form my own opinions and workflows.”
Try a New Art Form
Pulling your focus away from your particular field and aiming it at a completely different creative one will help to stimulate your mind. Stockholm-based designer Gustav Rosén, for instance, who is well-known for his furniture and lighting creations, took a chance on jewelry design. Now, he’s launched his own jewelry collection on Shapeways. 3D designer Brian Chan, on the other hand, went from creating sea creature models to armor costume designs. And, as he discovered, “Articulated armor has a lot in common with insect exoskeletons!”
Look to Your Mentors and Idols
When facing a creative block, the creators you admire could be your saving grace. Take some time to read about your mentors and idols — and how they’ve come to achieve success in their industry. And if you’re looking for more motivation, we’ve featured a huge variety of inspiring stories of designers who have overcome challenges to make an idea real. Jack Berberette, for example, turned his love of RPGs (and desire to make them more accessible) into a game for the visually impaired. One that he gives away for free.
Connect With Others
All artists have confronted a creative block before, so reaching out to others in your field can help tremendously. On Shapeways, you have the opportunity to connect with thousands of other creatives whom you can brainstorm with and ask for assistance. Jeremy Burnich, who joined the Shapeways community a few years back, said, “I could list at least two dozen people on Shapeways that I admire and study.”
Remember: You’ve Got This
When I’m confronted with a troubling creative block, I find it useful to look back and reflect on my previous work, examining the process I underwent and how satisfied I am with the final outcome. Remembering how you have overcome challenges, learned, and ultimately succeeded is an incredible confidence boost that can alleviate the anxiety of fighting a creative block — and make you feel equipped to beat this one. Whether it’s one of your most inspiring labors of love or a successful product you’ve been selling, taking some time to meditate on your past achievements can help spark new, innovative ideas.
Cover image: Upside Down Lamp by eli5e