Our 6 ways to overcome creative block

by João Candeias

Published Jun 02, 2022

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A creative block can come on slowly, or in our experience, it can hit you hard. One day you're glued to a piece of paper or a monitor, feeling like the best. Soon, you find yourself sitting on the couch, watching a series marathon, grieving the loss of your creative spark. You might relate to this, right? Since we're not alone on this issue, we decided to put together a list of 6 ways we use in the hope of helping you to overcome that mental block! Ready to crush the creative block?

Chances are, during your life, you've probably reached a point or two (maybe even more) where you feel completely drained of ideas. Creative block hits you, and it occurs to everyone! It's frustrating, and while working in a creative industry can be exciting, being a creator or having a constant need to create means we may run into dead ends. Although we usually think we can work harder and overcome it, frequently isn't the case. Sometimes we need more than a jolt, and finding a solution for it does not yield a quick fix either. To understand how to crush a creative block, we must first know its causes.

Yet, there is no universal answer to what causes the creative block, since everyone experiences that lack inspiration differently. However, research points to four key factors in common to all of us that may urge this phenomenon:

1) Imposter syndrome: When you feel like your ideas aren't good enough, and you doubt yourself, leading to the fear of rejection;

2) Personal problems: When you feel overwhelmed by something that is happening to you, and you can't think of anything else;

3)Work overload: Your workload has increased lately, so probably you feel tired;

4) Anxiety: The deadline is approaching quickly, and you are stressed out because this project is very significant for your company.

"Afterward, the short and simple answer to that question is several ways, depending on each individual."

This raises the million-dollar question – How can we overcome a creative block? For instance, Salvador Dalí was a fan of the 'The Key Method' – A plate was placed on the floor while Dalí was holding a key between his fingers. When Dalí would be about to enter into a deep sleep, the key would drop from his hands, hitting the plate and waking him to rekindle his creativity. Steve Jobs used to do long walks to increase his imagination and overcome creative blocks, according to the book “Becoming Steve Jobs.” Afterward, the short and simple answer to that question is several ways, depending on each individual.


Yet, we all have our methods for getting over blocks. So, we couldn't help but share some strategies that support us overcome some freezes in the past. All team members decided to share their methods, yet keep in mind that you may find something that works well for us, but it can't work the same way for you, and vice-versa. So let's take a dive into our ways to crush the creative block:

1) Take a Break: It is probably the effortless action that comes to mind while we are stuck with ideas. Every team member mentioned it, as it helps us disconnect and let our brains get on track after a while. Although it is not very creative, the reality is that it is the basis for all the actions taken in the points below, so we couldn't leave this one out.

2) Long walks & deep talks: Ana & Tiago love this approach when stuck on an idea. Going for a long walk, having a deep conversation, and doing a walking brainstorming, helps them have great solutions. In fact, some of their best ideas came to them during late-night walks and deep discussions, such as the concept for the Future Print Club project, for example (great minds think alike!). Whether you walk alone or with others, all forms of exercise have been shown to help overcome a creative block, so try it out yourself.

3) Taking a late-night shower: Instead of going for a walk, I prefer to take a shower. I know it may sound cliché, but instead of focusing at a desk brainstorming, I just take a break, and later that night, I take a nice hot shower. I find that late-night showers are my favorite since I feel like I can disconnect myself from the problems, and when I least expect it, an idea pops into my head. It's a time to relax, unwind, and let my mind roam free. That's my favorite method to get some inspiration.

4) Drawing: While pencil and paper may seem outdated nowadays, sketching down ideas can be a great way to relax. In order to overcome Tiago's lack of inspiration, whether by day or by night, he loves to grab a notepad and pen (so he doesn't erase his drawings) and let his creativity run wild. Drawing, doodling, and sketching with no rules and limits allow him to return to his task with renewed focus and energy.

5) Do something super dully: Yes, exactly like that! I like to do something that bores me, like cleaning or washing dishes. Doing something that requires only the use of my hands, my mind wanders. I find it annoying because it makes me think of 1000 things I'd rather do instead of washing dishes. Getting bored is one of the best methods to spark creativity, trust me!

6) Shush your negative thoughts: As you noticed already, your thoughts are one of the biggest obstacles to creativity. Negative thinking might interrupt your creative flow, similar to how your brain shuts you down before you begin working. All of us talk with each other either about life or about our work, so the best advice is to surround yourself with good friends, those who are able to listen and help you regard what your thoughts are.

"Last but not least, never forget to be soft with yourself, accept your creative powers, and tell your negative thoughts to go away"

Although a creative block can be frustrating, it might be essential sometimes. It's a warning sign from your brain reminding you to stop for a while and give yourself a few days of rest. Keeping hustling without a break drains all your energy and motivation, causing your mind to freeze and blank. So, if you take a closer look at all these activities, they all have something in common. All can set your mind to be freed up, relaxed, and reflective, not requiring much attention. When you remove yourself from your daily routine, you think of new ideas to help you overcome a creative block. Last but not least, never forget to be soft with yourself, accept your creative powers, and tell your negative thoughts to go away.