How to beat creative block - 4 steps

Every once in a while that creative juice, the energy that flows, encouraging creativity, inspiring great new ideas, and generally getting you up off the sofa and away from the tv, runs out

...he says as he sits in front of the TV with laptop on knee.  Ah, but I have an excuse - I'm writing. What's yours? 

It's a familiar story to anyone with a creative job or hobby. Writers call it 'writers block', photographers call it blindness, and craft workers throw hissy fits and bed down with a bunker of TV box sets and a teddy. Without treatment the symptoms of creative block worsen, resulting in a complete loss of interest in creative activities, or worse still, the churning out of sub-par, derivative works in an effort to preserve what few box sets we have left.

So, what's the treatment for this lifestyle threatening condition? 

Keep your creative muscle flexed - here's 4 techniques I use to get back on track.


Think smaller

When great ideas evade you, and you feel that your next big success is out of reach, turn around and head in the opposite direction. Look for something simple. Simply being creative, no matter how small the task flexes the mind and can inspire new ideas.  You never know, perhaps that simple task will be fruitful. 

When great ideas seem out of reach, look for the small things that inspire you. This photograph was completely unplanned and came to me while walking through the woods looking for miniature scenes to capture. My shoe came off, and the photo literally fell together. 

When great ideas seem out of reach, look for the small things that inspire you. This photograph was completely unplanned and came to me while walking through the woods looking for miniature scenes to capture. My shoe came off, and the photo literally fell together. 


Find a new angle

This is a great time to go back to your old ideas and look for a different point of view. As we gain life experience and time passes, your points of view change and old ideas take on new meanings. New skills offer alternative approaches, so perhaps you're now ready to do that old idea some justice. 

When you can't make an idea work, or are stuck for a new theme, go back to an old idea and find a new way to present it. I'd photographed horses so many times that it seemed all my newer photos were lacking something new and original. By trusting in the rider and finding a new angle to shoot the action from (in the path of the horse - I can not recommend this unless you know what you are doing - do not send your hospital bills to me) I was able to achieve this, my best equestrian photo yet!

When you can't make an idea work, or are stuck for a new theme, go back to an old idea and find a new way to present it. I'd photographed horses so many times that it seemed all my newer photos were lacking something new and original. By trusting in the rider and finding a new angle to shoot the action from (in the path of the horse - I can not recommend this unless you know what you are doing - do not send your hospital bills to me) I was able to achieve this, my best equestrian photo yet!


School yourself

Now I don't mean this literally, but this is a great opportunity to look up some tutorials, and research. We're often at our most enthusiastic and creative right after learning a new skill. Even looking for good tutorials and articles can inspire great ideas. 

Researching alternative methods of photographing portraits led me to a method nicknamed 'the Brenizer Method', a technique originally developed for creating large photographs with a longer lens, using multiple images, stitched together to form one larger image. This method, adapted for portraits produces a very pleasing and unique effect. Still one of my favourite photographs to date. 

Researching alternative methods of photographing portraits led me to a method nicknamed 'the Brenizer Method', a technique originally developed for creating large photographs with a longer lens, using multiple images, stitched together to form one larger image. This method, adapted for portraits produces a very pleasing and unique effect. Still one of my favourite photographs to date. 


Hit pause

Sometimes you're simply too tired and involved to see your project objectively. It's like when you're reaching for a word that's just on the tip of your tongue and just can't find it; our minds keep reaching for an adjacent word, causing second guessing, leading to complete diversion off course. Frustrating. The only way out of that situation is to stop trying so hard. Go away and think about something else for a bit. Have a conversation, make yourself a cup of tea. Once your mind is relaxed, you'll think more objectively and clearly. 


Next time your brain is plotting against your creativity and you're about to reach for the remote, remember; Smaller, Angle, School,  Pause

Do you have a subject you'd like me to write about? Comment below or search for more.