As a writer and creative business owner, I’ve had my share of writer’s block. It’s sometimes difficult to stay focused, motivated, and inspired. I’ve read many resources on how to combat this and unblock creativity for my business.
One of my favorite author and creative artist Austin Kleon offers this advice…practice productive procrastination. He suggests having 2-3 projects going on at one time, so that when you tire of one project, you can jump onto another. This is a great idea to help reduce that negative feeling when you’re feeling stuck and not producing anything worthy. Keep in mind though, everyone’s process is different and what works for one person may differ for another.
One of the biggest challenge for me is to allow myself time to just experience activities that allow me to experiment with creativity. Again, this process doesn’t always look productive. Because of this I feel like I’m not really making any progress and just wasting time. If you’re feeling the same way as I do, here are a few creative strategies that have helped me:
- Schedule Time To Explore.
I really believe in scheduling time to explore. Make an appointment for yourself. Select a time and day in the week for this. If you’re worried about your time, set the timer on your phone so that you don’t go over limit. It can be twenty minutes each day or even an entire day just for creative exploration such as visiting a museum, going for a walk, working out, painting or just going on Pinterest.
- Browse Through Random Books and Magazines
I love reading materials of all subjects. Since I tend to favor fashion and photography, I enjoy splurging my time in magazines. Not just for reading, but just taking in all the beautiful photos. It’s amazing and very useful, especially if you find yourself in a bookstore that carries different magazines from various countries. If you’re not able to get to a bookstore, go online. This process really helps me explore different possibilities and visions.
- Keep a notebook and take notes.
This wasn’t a habit for me several years ago, but now I carry a notebook with me everywhere. I religiously take notes. I write down quotations I like, overheard conversations, tidbits of information, articles or drawings, photos, anything that I find interesting. I know we have Pinterest for this as well, and you can create boards for these ideas, but it’s always wonderful to have a notebook filled with these notes for those times that you’re stuck somewhere without Wi-Fi. Trust me, when you don’t have Wi-Fi, this is the true test of patience. You’ll be surprised what a notebook can do for you.
4. Allow yourself to splurge modestly.
With your budget in mind, go out and enjoy a modest purchase that supports your creativity. Discover something at the thrift store, flea markets, or craft store. It can be anything from a new watercolor set, markers or a cool thrift store find to enhance your workspace.
5. Create an idea mind map.
This is similar to creating a brainstorm cloud. It’s my favorite process. I begin by taking between twenty to thirty minutes to sit and just brainstorm ideas using a large sketchbook. It can begin with a word, sentence, image, or a symbol and then spring off associations from there. Think of this as a brain dump but with a strategic purpose. It’s fun to see where your thought process leads.
In the end, sometimes it’s best to just temporarily walk away from your creative project. Take time off from what you were creating, and just let it sit there for a day, a week, or even a month and then come back to it. You’ll have fresh eyes and a clearer perspective when you return and you never know what you might come up with from just taking a break.
What are some ways that spark your creativity? What works best for you?