Bureau Blank

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Overcoming Creative Blocks

Overcoming Creative Blocks

Let’s face it, changing lives is a lot of work - but most importantly, it is inspiring and highly rewarding. At Bureau Blank, we strive to put forth our best work as our ideas and solutions are embedded with validated strategic approaches and effective communication methods. We work in a highly creative environment with a well-defined process. However, if you’re doing creative work, it is not uncommon to experience creative blocks. To help overcome these hurdles and keep each project running smoothly, Kristen and Ellery have a few tips.

Think Onto Paper (Or Your Phone).
When all else fails, start thinking onto paper. Perhaps your “real” writing or illustrating won’t begin until page two. That’s fine. Try using pen and paper, typing notes into your phone, or dictating your first thoughts as a voice memo. If you’re an old school longhander, try going straight to the computer to get your thoughts going. Whatever you do, don’t stop until you’ve got at least a couple of pages or a minute or so of thoughts out. Take a gander at those, and the starting point for your outline or project will usually be evident.

Wake Up and Start Writing.
Entrepreneurs and leaders have hit on a secret tool that many creatives have been using for years: morning pages. Here’s how they work: immediately upon awakening, start writing longhand with a pen into a notebook until you’ve coughed out three pages. That’s it. They’re not meant to be coherent, legible, well-written, or seen by another soul. They’re not your journal or personal diary. They’re a head-clearing exercise, useful to gin up your imagination for your work ahead that day.

Explore Other Creative Media.
Explore other creative media and processes for inspiration. That could mean a trip to the art museum, watching a classic film, drawing, painting, singing, crafting, or writing in a genre outside of your wheelhouse. The point is to have fun and feed your creative side.

Take a break.
Step away from your desk, go offline, and walk away. The objective of this break is to remove yourself from your workspace, decompress, and clear your mind. So change the scenery, go for a walk, people watch, listen to some birds chirp, chat with a friend, or go grab a cup of coffee. This will help reset those creative gears and gain a new perspective for a fresh working session.

Let it sit.
After the project’s preliminary work is complete, it may be helpful to gather your ideas and let them sit in the back of your head for a few days, but no more than a week. Even though you're not actively working on the project, your mind will be subconsciously thinking about it while progressing towards solutions. Before you know it, you'll know exactly what to do so you can dive right into the creative work and execute with confidence.

Work backwards.
While experiencing a creative block, it is obvious that something's not working. Start by identifying what that is and understand why. Identifying and eliminating the unsuccessful approaches will help narrow in on the right approach. The solution is always there; it’s just a matter of discovery.

If you’re doing creative or conceptual work full-time, you need to feed your creativity regularly so you don’t burn out. Rediscover the joy in what you’re doing; it will make a difference, and you’re sure to find inspiration for a project along the way. We’d love to hear more tips from you, so please share them in the comments.

Photo: "Light It Up" by Valentin Kold Gundersen via Flickr

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