5 Tips To Beat Creative Block

5 Tips To Beat Creative Block

You have spent months pumping out awesome, creative ideas from that beautiful brain of yours. You’re in the zone, your productivity is satisfactory, business is booming – but then one day it just hits you like a block to the face – creative “block”, that is. It can happen to the best of us and it can really throw a wrench into your project or the flow and size of your workload. There are many causes of creative block. Whether it be fatigue, daily life, exhausting your list of ideas or all of the above, there are extra measures you can take to prevent yourself from falling into this dreaded productivity pitfall that many freelancers and business owners struggle with.


Tip #1: Write down ALL of your ideas, anytime, anywhere.

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All masterpiece ideas have to start somewhere. That’s why you should write down your ideas even if you don’t think they are good. Think of all ideas like a flower. One idea starts off as a tiny seed. You then water that seed by expanding on the original idea and it starts to grow roots – or the foundation of the bigger picture. Expand on the ideas you thought of from before and keep repeating this until your idea has flourished into a glorious, brain blossom.

Most of my ideas spring into my head while I’m going about my day –  often out as quickly as they came – so I carry my journal around with me when I’m out and about so I don’t lose the ones that are golden. You could always use your memo app on your phone as well!

Thinking about your flower again, consider that your ideas do need time to grow. You likely won’t sit down and think of a billion-dollar idea in 5 minutes, so don’t put that much pressure on. Be patient with yourself and make sure you take a day to regroup, then come back to look again with fresh eyes (and some coffee). One of the main reasons creative block is such a struggle is that your head is not in the right place to be productive! If you’re like me, you don’t give up easily and you don’t like to take breaks once you’ve delved into something. Sometimes that is counterproductive because you can burn your brain out, especially if you’ve been working for hours and you’re not really getting anywhere. If the ideas just aren’t flowing, take a break, do something calming to your mind, find your happy place, and definitely don’t stress. You can write your ideas on my FREE brainstorming worksheet.

Don’t have a way to record your ideas available yet? Never fear! Download my FREE idea organizer here.  You can print it out and take it with you or use the Google Sheets version on your phone – which is great because Google Drive automatically saves any changes you make. If you’re not familiar with Google Apps and Google Drive, you’re seriously missing out!


Tip #2: Scour the web or google for inspiration

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I love looking for new tutorials or looking through artwork other designers or brands have done. When looking at things with a designer’s eye, you can really learn a thing or two from observation. Everyone is unique, so no one’s art style will be exactly the same.

Don’t be afraid to look at something that someone created and pick that apart. What type of font did they use? What is the emotion they are trying to evoke with their color scheme? What program did they use and what tools did they use to create an effect? You would be surprised what you can pick up on just from taking some extra time to admire something brilliant. Don’t forget to share your appreciation with the creator, they may part with some helpful knowledge for your future projects or even give you some ideas to help you out of your creative block.

There are a vast amount of possibilities that open up to you on the web and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. 

Make sure you keep a list of some sort to help you come up with more. A great thing to use would be my FREE brainstorming worksheet here.


Tip #3: Feeling Artistic? Doodle or wander in Adobe illustrator

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Some of my best work has started with opening a blank canvas in Adobe Illustrator, with absolutely no goal in mind other than to make eye-catching things and doodle.

Take a free stock photo and start vectoring it, play with different shapes overlapping with different layer blending modes, explore the different filters and tools available, then try one you’ve never tried before. Save everything you do – even if it’s not quite together yet – and come back to it when you’re feeling artsy again. If you’re not comfortable with Adobe Illustrator yet, don’t worry, here are some helpful tutorials (some of my favorites from the past!) from other bright minds to dip your toes into.

Still stuck for art ideas? Download my FREE brainstorming worksheet here.


Tip #4: Make Use Of a “Mind-Mapping” or “Notes” app or physical journal

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Most people nowadays have a smartphone, so writing down ideas on your phone should be quick and easy. I make use of physical notes and mind mapping apps to help organize all of my ideas.

For taking notes or generally writing down an idea, I use Google Docs. Google Docs and Google Drive are great because you can organize all of your notes and documents into folders, and the app is downloadable for both Android and IOS! Not only that, but any changes you make are automatically saved to Google’s cloud storage. You can view and edit your notes in your drive on your computer later on when you have more time to sit down to think about them.

Don’t have that option? Download my FREE brainstorming worksheet here.


Tip #5: Have a scheduled and distraction-free brainstorming session

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Set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour by yourself during the day to brainstorm with no distractions. Make sure you set up in a quiet place where you feel comfortable and where you feel you are most productive.

Sitting in a clean room, on a pleasant day with the window open, natural lighting and with something to make the room smell good (such as candles, essential oils, and other fragrances) can really help put you in the right mood to get creative.

Start your timer, and for the duration of that timer until it goes off, write whatever comes into your head and don’t stop. Did you think of something completely random? Ride the natural flow of your train of thought and write it down anyways. You never know where something “random” could lead into during your next brainstorming session! And when you do have that session make sure you download my FREE brainstorming worksheet here.

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About the author

Heather Gingrich is an expert graphic designer and web developer with 7+ years of experience. She specializes in branding & logo design, web design & dev, and print design. Her strengths include persistent communication with her clients, time management, and excellent customer service. Heather wants to make the world of business online and offline a little bit easier to manage, and seeks to satisfy her clients to the fullest extent, assisting with numerous technical tasks that may prove challenging for them and taking the visual appeal of their brands to the next level.

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