By Brad Wayland
Writer’s block is as old as art itself — and it applies to more than just people who work with the written word. Everyone has encountered a creative block at one point or another in their life, the result of some mental exhaustion or artistic challenge they cannot overcome.
Rather than bash your head against your desk in frustration, why not take a step back and take a break from your work? While you’re at it, you might try one of the following tactics to recharge and regain your creativity. You might be surprised at their effectiveness.
1. Master Your Mind
In a lot of ways, your mind is like a muscle. Exercise it regularly, and you’ll be happier, healthier, and more alert. There’s a reason so many CEOs swear by meditation – and a reason why mindfulness has become a billion dollar industry.
“Multiple research studies have shown that meditation has the potential to decrease anxiety, thereby potentially boosting resilience and performance under stress,” writes Emma Seppala of the Harvard Business Review. “Brain-imaging research [also] suggests that meditation can help strengthen your ability to regulate your emotions….Research on creativity suggests that we come up with our greatest insights and biggest breakthroughs when we are in a more meditative and relaxed state of mind.”
In short, if you’re feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle with writer’s block, try meditation – once you learn how to do it, it gets results.
2. Indulge Your Guilty Pleasure (With Moderation)
Everyone has a guilty pleasure of some kind. Maybe it’s bingeing a new series on Netflix, or eating a few chocolate bars. Maybe it’s playing video games, or drinking a sweet, sugary frappuccino from Starbucks.
Whatever it is, if you’re feeling the strain of a creative block, consider indulging that pleasure (without going overboard, of course). The happiness and relaxation you gain from doing so could well set you back on track.
3. Put on Some of Your Favorite Music
Music is proven to have an effect on our mood, our mind, and — by association — our creative flow. Find some songs or playlists that both inspire and relax you. Listen to them while you work, or just kick back, relax, and listen to them in your downtime.
You might be surprised at the impact it has on both your mood and your level of focus.
4. Get Up, Get Out, and Move
Sitting at a desk for hours at a time — whether you’re writing, painting, or otherwise — will take a great toll on you. That’s why every now and then, I’d advise getting up for a spell.
Go for a run or a bike ride. Take a swim. Lift some weights. Whatever you do, get your blood pumping with some exercise, then revisit the project that’s giving you trouble afterwards.
Last but certainly not least, have a chat with a colleague or friend. A fresh perspective can do wonders for a tricky creative problem. And even if it doesn’t, talking with someone whose company and conversation you enjoy can get you back on track and recovered from writer’s block.
If you work in a creative field, you’re doubtless no stranger to writer’s block and creative drain. And you’re likely to encounter them again. They needn’t rule you, however, by mastering the techniques outlined here, you can retake control of your creativity, and get back to doing what you love.