Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

It happens to the best of us.

Creative blocks come without warning—and more than just frustrating, they can be downright terrifying if your career depends on your craft.

In order to get out of a creative rut, it helps to find out why you go there in the first place. Not all creative blocks are created equally, and defining the cause is just as important as pulling up your boot straps and giving that block all the fight you have in you.

Today I’m sharing plenty of tips for getting over a block, plus I’ve explored the “why” to help you determine the perfect fix. (All photos are from my office)


Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

Get over the fear

Creative work is fun, but it can also be very intense. You may be stuck because you’re afraid to say what you really want or need to; you may be scared of what you’ll discover in the process; you may fear what other people might think. If this is you, you’re being blocked by your own emotions. And to that, I say, “it gets better.”

The fix: Get it out of your system, come out the other end, and then realize the world didn’t end.

Give yourself permission to burn it

Creative blocks often come right after you’ve made something great. Success can be our worst enemy, because the pressure to create something greater than the last is so powerful, it can be downright stunting. The next thing you make doesn’t have to be better and perhaps it won’t be. And that’s okay.

The Fix: Make shit and throw it away. You need to exercise your muscles to get back into the groove. Do yourself a kindness and allow yourself to create something with the intention of tossing it. Giving yourself permission to burn it is really giving yourself permission to create without limits. No one has to see it, and you don’t have to keep it — it never happened! Or perhaps it turns out awesome, in which case, fantastic.

 Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

Adopt a new perspective

Over-thinking things? Sounds like you’re mentally blocked rather than emotionally stopped. If you find yourself going in circles in your head, you’re likely trapped by your own thinking. You may be so locked into seeing the world and your work in a certain way that you’re ignoring other approaches.

The Fix: Change your mind and try to recognize and break your normal thought patterns. Question your approach and ask yourself “why,” “what if,” etc. Maybe ask a friend for their perspectives. A fresh set of eyes might just be what you need to gain insight and freshen your approach.

 Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

Habits that aren’t helpful

Perhaps your block isn’t due to some existential crisis or drama. Perhaps it’s that your working habits aren’t working for you. Maybe you’re not blocked, rather you’re working within conditions that aren’t conducive to what you need. Maybe it’s your environment, maybe it’s your work hours, maybe it’s having too much structure or not enough.

The Fix: If you’re stunted by options, try narrowing your focus; If you’re too stimulated, find a quiet place that you won’t get distracted in;  If you procrastinate because there’s no deadlines, set one for yourself; If you’re too tired, get more sleep and try working later in the day; If you can’t work without windows to look out of, find some gosh darn windows! Whatever the habits are that got you in this mess, change them.

Do something completely unrelated to your discipline

After you’ve defined what’s causing your block, it’s sometimes helpful to just create for the sake of creating. Try working on a project outside of your wheelhouse. It’s not only a great way to discover new skills, but it’ll likely help you gain insight into your work.

The Fix: Get out of your element, both physically and creatively. Write, draw, work out, tackle a DIY or home reno project.

Hope these tips helped! Toodles from me and Piper.

Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

Sabrina Smelko

Lifestyle blog and shop by Sabrina Smelko, sharing wellness, home design, entrepreneurship and resources