How To Break Your Creative Blocks
Are you stuck in a creative block? Do all your efforts seem to be going absolutely nowhere right now? If so, here are some ways that you might be able to get through it and get your projects back on track!
Table of Contents
- Make a bullet list of what needs to happen or be shown.
- Explain what it is you're trying to accomplish out loud.
- Write down everything you can think of.
- Muscle on through it.
- Do something new and/or different.
- Put unneeded stressors away for awhile.
- In summary!
Make a bullet list of what needs to happen or be shown.
If you've got the basics of what you need to establish or have happen more or less figured out, make a bullet list that lays it all out in order. Don't worry if you have a few blank spots - if you end up with them, you can later look at your list and ask yourself, "all right, now what can I put in here that will progress the point before here to the one after it?"
Explain what it is you're trying to accomplish out loud.
If you have a general idea of where you're going but you're having a hard time figuring out how to get there, stop and explain what it is you're trying to do out loud, as if you were trying to explain the problem to someone else. (You can even use a toy or figurine for this, if you have one available.) Here are a few examples of what you might need to go over:
- What it is you're trying to accomplish or create, and how it needs to work and what sort of limitations, flaws, or drawbacks it needs to have.
- Why something (EG, a universe mechanic) works this way and not in some other way - particularly where the alternatives would be more intuitive and/or closer to the way things typically work in real life.
- Why something that happens in your story happens this way, and not in any other possible or apparent way it could happen.
- What your characters or factions hope to gain or accomplish from their actions and choices, and why they think it'll work better than any other alternatives they would be aware of or that someone might mention to them - particularly if the alternatives would be more intuitive, more effective, less risky, less time-consuming, easier, cheaper, more profitable, or better for PR.
- How you would solve a problem if you were in a given character's shoes, and if applicable, why that character isn't doing that.
Do this, and you'll often find that the solutions to your problems will quickly present themselves.
Write down everything you can think of.
You might also stop and relax for a moment and let your imagination flow free. Write down everything that comes to you, as it comes, no matter how silly or ridiculous it seems. When you're done, look at what you've got. Maybe a few things are totally unworkable and can be discarded immediately, but maybe there's something that could have potential if it was tweaked and polished a little. Or maybe you'll get really lucky and find the perfect idea lying right there for you.
Muscle on through it.
Are you having a hard time trying to figure out how to make everything in your head coalesce into something nice, pretty, and coherent? Stop trying to do that and just start writing the best you can. You might find that what you get out isn't even all that bad - and if it is, well, that's what editing is for. If you're having trouble making something coherently convey what you need it to, try writing it out in as many ways as you can think of - even if they're all terrible. You'll often find that you can take these flawed attempts and refine them into something that actually does work.
Do something new and/or different.
Work on another project for awhile. Take a walk Go check out something in a genre you haven't really explored before. Find some new people to talk to, such as in a community on the Internet you've never been in. Spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks, studying a subject you don't know all that much about. Try taking up a new skill, if it's possible. Read or watch a few how-tos online. Go someplace you've never been before, even if it's just in your own area.
If one thing doesn't work out for you, do not give up - keep on trying and checking out new things until you find something that clicks.
Put unneeded stressors away for awhile.
This can potentially mean tuning out from news outlets or from social media where you're constantly barraged by scandal and outrage and sensationalist Chicken Little-esque headlines. Although you might feel like you need to keep abreast of every bad thing happening out there in the world or else you're failing somehow, the reality is that knowledge you have is only as good as what you can do about or with it, and for the vast majority of bad things out there, there's nothing you can do. And for the remainder you can do something about, you'll be more effective without unneeded stress bagging you down!
Putting away stressors can also mean letting go of certain hobbies or activities for awhile. Maybe there's a show you watch that frustrates you for a few reasons - stop watching it. Maybe your roleplaying game is contributing to your stress - take a break from it. Maybe you're too focused on what you can't do in your life right now - try focusing on what you can do instead. Look at what you have around you and what resources are available to you, and ask yourself what you could do with it.
Once you put the negativity away, you might find yourself feeling a little lost and disoriented - after all, these were probably things that you used to occupy your time with. For this problem, refer to the last tip - do something new and different. Another thing you might do is try and focus on something more positive. Maybe look at nice photos for awhile, or check out some sites that focus on positive news. Maybe start researching strategies for for dealing with stress, or watch some relaxation videos on YouTube. If one thing doesn't work out for you, try another.
Keep this up for at least several days - don't just do this for a single evening or weekend and call it done. It might even take a few weeks for this to work. And remember, even if you can't remove every single stressor in your life, getting rid of even a few can still make a huge difference.
- If you have a general idea of what it is you want to do or need to establish, lay it out in a bullet list. From here you can work out how to make it all connect to each other.
- Explain what you're trying to accomplish out loud, as if you were trying to explain it to someone else.
- If you're stuck for ideas, just start writing down anything and everything that comes to mind - no matter how silly or bad it seems. You might find something workable in what you come up with.
- Muscle on through - just write, no matter how awful it sounds. If it's bad, you can edit it later.
- Do something new and different for awhile - anything. If one thing doesn't work for you, try something else.
- Take a break from any stressor you can take a break from for awhile. Several days to a few weeks is optimal. Replace stressful activities with soothing ones.
Also take a look at:
Reasons Your Story Might Be Stuck - And How To Fix It
"Is This A Good Idea For My Story/Setting/Character?" - How To Answer This For Yourself!
Universal Creative Tips For Everything & Everyone
Borrowing & Sharing Ideas In Fiction - When It's Okay, And When It Isn't
How To Recognize Bad Creative Mentors