‘We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down’ – Kurt Vonnegut, on creativity.
For those working in the creative industries, starting a new project can indeed feel like jumping off a cliff. When the ideas stop flowing, panic soon sets in. Beating creative block can be a real challenge. However, there are a number of ways to reignite the creative spark. Take a step back, relax, and try some of these tips.
Step away from the computer
Staring at the screen and trying to force an idea rarely works – you’re more likely to become stressed and anxious. The internet can also become a double-edged sword. Under normal circumstances, surfing the net is a productive pastime. However, if you’re struggling with creative block, it soon becomes the ultimate procrastination tool.
Turning off your computer is a good way to reconnect with your creative brain. Take the opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air. According to several experiments, going for a walk can boost creativity.
Get your blood flowing
Going for a walk can promote creative thought. However, by taking it up a notch, you could stimulate your brain even further – so slip on your trainers and go for a run. You might not generate ideas en route, but the change of pace could help you to overcome your block.
Regular exercise has also been shown to improve creativity, so building physical activity into your daily routine could fend off creative block in the future.
It can be difficult to pinpoint why you’re struggling with a particular project. It may be that background concerns are clouding your subconscious, reducing your ability to focus on the work in hand.
Completing a smaller task could help reignite your creative spark. Do something you’ve been putting off for a while, such as booking an appointment or opening a bank account. Dealing with these mundane tasks can help you to refocus on your project.
Scientific studies show that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique promotes creativity. Essentially, meditation improves brain integration. This, in turn, improves our flexibility and originality of thought – the blueprint of creativity.
Turn off your electronic devices, find a quiet place, and meditate. Doing this for just 20 minutes, two times a day, can have a hugely positive effect on your creative thought processes.
Sometimes, our creative thought processes become buried beneath other layers. To excavate your creativity, do something which requires some physical exertion, but little active thought.
Choose a task which needs a certain degree of basic concentration, such as driving or mowing the lawn. This allows the deeper parts of your mind to wander – you could be surprised to find creative ideas floating up into your active consciousness.
Working in a creative industry can feel like a lonely business at times. However, some of the greatest ideas have come from partnerships – consider the comedic genius of Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, or the extraordinary engineering feats of the Wright brothers.
Have a chat to someone else about your project. They don’t have to be in the creative industry themselves – you could ask a family member or a friend. Two heads are often better than one!
Creative block can be a frightening experience, particularly for freelancers whose income depends on their creativity. However, stepping back and refocusing on another task can often coax the imagination back to life.
This article was written by Joe Trimby of TM Home, a 100% non-profit website dedicated to bringing you the latest stories about Transcendental Meditation.
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