I'm a graphic designer and writer in Northern Ireland. Welcome to my blog.

On creative block

Gerard Huerta quote

Good advice kindly penned by Gerard for my book.

Elsewhere:
Overcoming Creative Block, on ISO50
How to Start Creating When You Don’t Know What to Say, on Lateral Action
Overcome Creative Blocks by Giving Away Your Services, on Lifehacker
Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking? on Copyblogger

What do you do when you’re stuck?

My second book on Amazon

Related posts

24 comments about “On creative block”

  1. Totally agree.
    It helps to walk away and forget about it for a while. For some reason having a shower works for me! I get lots of idea in the shower. Or I talk with my business partner (and wife) or go for a little walk to talk about it, problems are soon solved in this way. Just being in a different environment helps. When we were at Minale Tattersfield back in the 90’s we had different meeting rooms and we would all file off to one of these with some paper and pencils or go to Richmond Green for a brainstorming session with a pint of ale on a sunny day. Ah, those were the days!

    Getting away from your computer is a great idea and we should all do it more often.

  2. Good advice.

    Drawing let’s the creativity flow, while the computer is a start/stop process when you have to take those few seconds to access menus, tools etc. It can impede the creative process.

    So it goes…

    -dp

  3. He’s right, and it’s much more productive than allowing oneself to be caught up playing silly online games or doing facebook, twitter or other “time wasters”, believing we’ll somehow get over the block.

  4. A shower can sometimes relieve headaches too, Lee. Useful for more than a wash.

    I hope New York’s treating you well, dp.

    Have you tried Google+, Grace? I’m reluctant to, given the distractions of Facebook and Twitter. But a client said how great the hangouts are for video conferencing. “What Skype should be,” I think he said.

  5. Yes I’m on Google+ with a total of 10 people (!) in my circles. I’m not sure either if I want to add another distraction. Maybe one of these days when I have nothing to do…

  6. Fabulous advice. I recently bought myself one of those beautiful hard backed sketch books for doing just this. Paired with a Rotring Art Pen I am having trouble stepping away from my book!

  7. If I’m working on a design and I get stuck, I print it (sometimes each layer) and cut everything out then work it by hand. Add stuff with pen or pencil. The kinesthetics work really well to overcome artistic block.

    If that fails, I browse deviantart or some of my favorite portfolios. :)

  8. Yes, yes, yes. It can make a world of difference!

  9. Showers are one way I can clear my thoughts and relieve stress. Unfortunately, drawing won’t work for me. First, it has to either include listening to music or drive around town. So I do both and take my sketchbook with me that way I can draw outside in new places that I explore :)

  10. Great advice! Sometimes I don’t even need to draw, I just need to spend some time away from the computer and get outside to see my creativity come back.

  11. Sometimes when you are stuck in your computing task the best thing to do is get up and take a breather. Although you don’t really have to draw, you could do other stuff like walk for a while or play with your pets if you have any. This will help you refocus when you get back to your computer.

  12. I usually go and read, or listen to music for a bit. Or maybe I work for a little on another project. Sometimes just doing something different, even for a few minutes, helps me get the juices flowing again!

  13. I tend to take a walk. I find that taking in the vast amount of inspiration surrounding us everyday is enough to kick start the creative fire and help move on with my designs. Also it’s hard but you should never be afraid to scrap your current idea and start from scratch. If the idea isn’t working, it’s not working for a reason.

  14. Well when I get a creative block, I simply go out and do some photography – esp nature or kids; I simply love the energy of kids and beauty of nature. And when I don’t have mood for photography I go out on a highway for a fast drive, cos fast driving helps brain to think and react fast.

  15. David,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and greatly admire your work. I figure it’s time to get in the conversation.

    When I feel stuck, my current release is to hit the gym for a half hour. With all the sitting I do throughout my day, there’s nothing like a little exercise. I tend to listen to a few different movie soundtracks and that usually helps reset my brain. Current favorite soundtracks are Marie Antoinette or The Holiday.

    When all else fails, a nice glass of red wine and a sketch pad can really do the trick.

    AVL

  16. I have to agree, walking away from the computer helps a lot.

  17. Yeah you can walk away just change the working scenario for your mind. Some times it works well.

  18. For me, I head into the garden and forget about it all … apparently our brains still continue to work on a problem when we’re not consciously thinking of it. I often find I can wake up in the morning with fresh ideas …
    ‘to look is to learn, if you listen carefully ….. Per Arnoldi

  19. You got further than I did, Grace. No circles. Yet.

    Had to Google the ArtPen, Zoe. Calligraphy nibs? Like the sound of that.

    Jamie, sketching outside — nice suggestion. I’ve been known to drive me and my sketchbook somewhere with a view. Been too long.

    Amy, thanks very much.

    Good reading everyone’s preferences.

  20. Cup o tea and some biccies! works every time.

  21. love love love this!
    I turn on Pandora “Damien Rice” and my creativity explodes :)

  22. I think the main thing to do, is to do something very different.

    I started drawing quite a bit recently, for the first time in about 15 years at least. It’s made quite a difference to my creativity I feel. Simply because I’ve broken the record.

    I started out doing it for personal projects and to stretch myself and after a few weeks integrated a hand drawing into a front end web design project to great success.

  23. Like Craig, a good break with a cup of tea does it for me.

    If I start drawing, it is always too tempting to try and turn my sketch into a masterpiece, and the time just disappears.

  24. Agreed.

    I sometimes like to switch projects when stuck on a certain design. It lets me disassociate with the current project for a bit and focusing on something else so I can look at it again from a fresh perspective later.

    I also find art/musical improvisations helpful, as you no longer have to answer to design constraints.

Anything to add?

Comments may be edited or deleted if I don't like the cut of your jib, but that's quite unlikely.