After a good night’s sleep, a few cups of coffee and an adequate amount of sugar, you’re ready to tackle a new project. Unfortunately, after staring at the computer for an hour, you have no new ideas. You don’t even have any old ideas, for that matter.
There are days when a blank screen is equivalent to a torture device for creative professionals. Fortunately, there are many tactics you can employ to maximize your creativity.
Try something new. If you have a creative block, take a break. Put the project aside and do something else you enjoy such as jogging or reading a book. A change of pace often provides a fresh perspective. One art director, for example, heads to a nearby driving range to hit some golf balls. Upon return to work, she finds herself re-energized.
Early to bed, early to rise. In a survey of top advertising executives by The Creative Group, two-thirds of respondents reported that they were most creative in the early hours. It may be especially difficult to greet the dawn when you’re in a slump, but an early start ultimately can help you conquer it. If, however, you’re not a morning person and never will be, schedule your most demanding work for times of peak creativity.
Get some clarity. If your creative block centers on a particular project, you could be unclear on what’s required. Review your notes on the piece, or contact the client directly to discuss his or her objectives and expectations. A more detailed explanation of what’s desired may provide just the nugget of information you need to trigger ideas.
Choose another angle. Sometimes a creative block can stem from an unworkable concept. In this event, consider approaching the project from a completely different perspective. For example, if you’re designing a company Web site and the overall look and feel of it just isn’t working, consider the project in a whole new light. Is there a possibility for a humorous approach? Can you build on the existing site and infuse some more excitement there? Explore others ideas, then pick one and run with it.
Seek inspiration. Nearly everyone has a certain setting in which they’re most inspired. These places are fairly unique to the individual and can range from a museum to a secluded beach to a local art gallery. Try to seek out an environment that is meaningful to you and spend time relaxing there. Often, the right atmosphere is all you need.
Once you’ve broken through your barrier to creativity, take time to consider its cause. If you think stress is the cause of your block, it may be time for a vacation or a change of pace. Perhaps you need a new project to challenge you. Whatever the cause, by taking a break, you’ll give yourself a chance to regroup and be back in business in no time.