Students: Getting Rid of Creative Block

Everyone has moments of inspiration when the job progresses with a demonic speed and you seem to be close to inventing an absolutely unique bicycle. There happen other days as well, when the only thing you can do is to write something like “London is the capital of Great Britain, and all of your creative ideas seem to claim an eternal boycott. Do not be too afraid: this happening has its name and it can be fought. One of writers is right about telling you how to do that.

What is that Creative Block?

Lack of Creativity

We can call it more usually: “loss of inspiration”. A creative block can be known as a kind of a barrier that holds one’s mind from using a so-called “internal creativity” (the ability to think out new things and to bring them to life). Writers, musicians, artists and other creative people are in the group of a high risk. The most scary thing is that, the creative block can stand for months or even years.

What Can Be the Reason?

There can be many different reasons. Among them there are the self-criticism, the fear of a failure and others.

  • “I am my biggest criticist”. A critical approach towards your own job can be useful, as this is how you can find and fix lacks. But still, too much criticism can cause that block to appear.
  • “See and approve my work”. In the year 2004, the New Yorker article appeared. Its author said, that nobody expects you to write your first book. Nobody cares if you finish it. But after your first try, if it all goes well, everyone is going to wait for your next writing. This waiting, a constant wish to get the approval and the fear to disappoint people around you can slow your creative process down.
  • “I won’t make it”. I bet the fear of a failure had appeared together with dinosaurs. But you NEVER know anything for sure, until you try.
  • “I don’t know what expects me there”. The fear of a failure and the fear of the unknown come along with each other. It often happens that way, people who are not sure it their idea’s success prefer to just “block” it.

Additionally, external stress factors can’t be excluded here (a death of a relative, for instance), constant denials of people to make your idea true (remember Emma Stone’s character from “La-La Land”, she was almost there to give up), overwhelming perfectionism of a person and many other things.

What Will be the Result?

If you can’t deal with a sudden lack of creativity for a long time already, this status can turn into something worse: into anxiety and depression, for instance (especially if your creativity is what feeds you throughout your life). Moreover, that block can make you feel yourself unneeded and make you doubt your own ability to create things in future.

If you feel something like that, then know you are not the worst in a pack. For example, the famous case of a creative block happened to a literature criticist Samuel Taylor Coleridge: in the year 1804 he wrote about himself being unable to create anything worthy within the last year. And actually, the biggest part of his well-known poems Coleridge wrote before his 30. Later he got passionate on opium and couldn’t write poetry any more.

Another case: Harper Lee, American writer, the author of the novel titled “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Her one and only novel. There are many versions of why Lee suddenly stopped writing after the year 1960 when her magnum opus was presented to the world: they say about her being unable to deal with a sudden fame and publicity, and the creative block that happened to Lee, of course.

During one of the interviews, the writer noted that her work on the second novel goes very slowly. Of course, we can’t forget about the book called “Go Get a Watchman”, published in 2015. But here is an interesting detail: Lee finished it even BEFORE “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

On the other side, there always were writers impressing the others with their productivity. It seems that they never care about any blocks. Stephen King, who published 54 novels, 6 non-fiction books and nearly 200 short stories, has his own method.

He likes to write 10 pages per day, this is equal to 2000 words. 180 000 words during three months is a good size for the book where the reader can get lost with pleasure if the story is good, he says.

How to Overcome the Block

Breaking the Block

If you are not Stephen King (yet) and if you feel you can’t write a single essay or coursework word for days, don’t get despaired too fast. You can try one of these methods below first, or even combine them if you want.

Method 1: Change Your Routine

Here we come back to Stephen King again. His daily schedule is pretty clear and planned. Once he is going to start writing, he always has a glass of water or a cup of tea nearby. He starts at the certain time, between 8:00 and 8:30 AM. He takes his vitamins, turns on the music, takes the same seat, and has his papers organized in a clearly determined order. These actions tell his brain, that it is required to turn the imagination on.

Still, routine may not work all the time, so it is useful to get out of its limits sometimes. Additionally, you get used to a schedule very fast and just can’t think out anything new. If you still have doubts, watch a TED Talk video of Stefan Sagmeister, an Austrian designer that is suspiciously looking like Sherlock.

Stefan Says about the job that was made in his own studio in New York City, where he combined his two main life passions: music and design. He worked on many successful projects, but with time he mentioned that he got adapted to a routine and his projects became similar with each other.

That is why the designer takes a 1-year pause every 7 years and goes somewhere far: to Bali or Sri-Lanka, in order to get away of his usual workplace, to change the environment completely and to let creative ideas born.

Of course, it is not obligatory for you to buy a ticket to Asia and move there for the year. Start from having a walk, a trip to another city, anything that allows you not to see your usual table and laptop display.

Method 2: Go on a Journey

This method has things in common with a previous one, but now we talk about the real journey: you know that one, with visas, long flights and heavy cases. Why is it worth to do that? First of all, journeys allow you to get far from problems and let your creativity go out and show itself. On regular working days people are much more likely to think about paying rent for an apartment and bills for electricity. When you get far from your daily tasks, it is easier for you to think on “less” urgent things. For instance, on your creative ideas.

Cultural differences have a great meaning here, too. When you get into the environment where people behave in another way, speak another language and look different from you and your neighbors, your mind horizons get wider and you can see any problem to have several solutions. For instance, Japanese art of calligraphy which is not too spread in our, Western part of the world, can inspire you to create a new logo.

Method 3: Find Time to Stay Alone

You may wonder, but loneliness is a strong catalyst for your creativity. Researches show, that the most creative teenagers like spending time alone. Even the nature took care about humans, and created sleeping time for us to be alone.

No, it is not necessary to throw away your gadgets and run away from civilization to far isles: it is enough to have a cup of coffee in the morning or a slow lonely walk through the park. Results of such a meeting with yourself can wonder you pleasantly.

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