How to overcome a creative block as a freelancer
“My idea doesn’t feel complete yet.”
“I’ll never get it done anyway.”
“Maybe I’m not a creative person.”
We know how it feels like.
You find yourself staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration. Don’t worry, creative block happens to most of us. Even the most successful people in the world suffer from its evil grasp. It’s one of the worst feelings ever.
But the good news is, feeling stuck is just part of the creative process. What you need is a new strategy—specifically tailored for your type of creative block.
Common factors leading to the dreaded creative block is often a combination of overworking, anxiety and perfectionism.
As a freelancer, you can’t afford to be short on ideas or miss the drive to put them into action because you rely on your creativity to pay the bills and establish your brand. Here are some ideas to get your creativity back on track:
Set a routine
It might help you to switch your mind into a creative state. When you set aside a part of your day to address your issues, you have no choice but to confront them and seek solutions. So instead of rushing away from a creative block, you can sit down and explore it.
If you’re trying to produce creative content, such as a blog post, video, or design, don’t let staring at an empty page intimidate you. Just get started by drafting an outline for possible content or campaigns. You’ll need to implement specific rules that you set for yourself to be more productive and creative throughout the workdays.
For example, set a timer for five to ten minutes and challenge yourself to create something — a design sketch, a blog post, a small painting, a poem, a new idea, you name it. The tight deadline can help you find new and interesting ways to innovate.
‘Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.’
Vincent Van Gogh
Think outside the box/ Learn something new
Don’t get stuck in the rules of how things “should be”. Learn a creative skill outside your comfort zone. Learning something new is a good challenge. It’s like practicing mental workout to force your brain to focus, to push yourself to try new things. It boosts cognitive processes and takes your brain outside its comfort zone. Think outside the box and attempt weird, silly methods of approaching the brief that you’re not accustomed to trying. Have fun and explore your own creativity in ways that would ultimately surprise you.
Keep widening the lens aperture to take in different and broader perspectives that can be useful for your creative work.
Travel to other places
Since your creativity is related to how your brain is wired, the process of strengthening our “creative muscles” is indeed possible. Looking for inspiration in places you’d least expect can be a good place to start so you can fix your dreaded creative block.
It’s what famously worked for Ernest Hemingway’s flourishing creativity during his time in Paris. Hemingway and his fiction might not have become so well-known so quickly had he not established himself in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Expose yourself to an entirely different point of view through a new cultural experience to unleash creative thinking.
Go easy on yourself
Your mental health should always come first. Take some time to meditate, eat delicious chocolate, opt for a nap, or do something else. A 10-minute meditation is a powerful way to start your day. If you have a hard time meditating, apps like Calm and Headspace come with built-in meditation routines designed to help you get the most out of your experience, whether you have five minutes or an hour to spare.
Are you maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle? Instead of getting yourself psyched up, try to slow down to avoid stress. It’s important to allow yourself some freedom, flexibility, and time to figure things out. Do what’s best for you. Take some time to relax and unwind with your family or friends. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what happens after a little recharge time.
Exercise helps you release endorphins that will make you feel less anxious, energized, and more focused.
As well as making our creativity flow more freely, regular exercise can stimulate the brain to help prevent or tackle mental health conditions. The more we look at it, the more benefits we find.
So next time you’re dealing with a “blank page syndrome” stepping away to your exercise mat might be your best solution. Going out for a walk will give you some fresh thoughts while still allowing you to relax your mind.
Shut out distractions
How can you avoid these distractions while working from home as a freelancer?
Let’s start with turning off your notifications. This may be your email, social media, phone, etc. Basically, anything that pops up and catches your attention - Turn! It! OFF!
Avoid music with lyrics. There are many proven benefits to listening to music while working, but just be sure to choose the right genre. For example, if you’re a content writer, consider selecting music of a more ambient nature instead.
Whatever it is that pulls you out of your focus zone, try to shut it off or move away from that point of distraction.
Creative block is normal
It’s all part of the job description – being a creative freelancer has its ups and downs. These blocks are just a part of the creative process.
With a positive mindset in place, you can let ideas come to you instead of forcing them to conjure.
Giving up is not an option.
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