5 ways to smash through a creative block

10 August 2020

By Carl Adamson

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One of the main reasons I love my job is I’m always getting to flex my metaphorical creative muscle.

Turning a blank screen, page or space into something beautiful, clear and thought-provoking — something that drives positive change — is my number one motivation.

And being inventive and imaginative shouldn’t just be for designers, marketeers, musicians and artists; you could be a company secretary, share plan or reward expert, accountant or lawyer…looking at any industry’s tried and trusted processes whilst wearing creative shades can help us see exciting new approaches that deliver exceptional results. In fact, Forbes ranked ‘creativity’ as the number one skill to have in the future.

However, getting your creative juices flowing isn’t always as easy as turning on a tap.

There are certainly days when my head draws a blank. I’ve been to the gym and had my morning cup of green tea, so I should be wide awake and firing, but my mind is stuck in neutral — and I can’t afford to sit around scratching my head until a bolt of inspiration strikes.

So, what do I do when my creativity levels need a boost? (Well, I’m glad you asked).

My top 5 tactics for smashing through creative blocks are:

 

1. Take a walk

All it takes sometimes is to get up and stretch your legs for 30 minutes. Have a stroll around the block, wander to the park, head over to the other side of the office… anywhere as long as you allow yourself to clear your head. For me, I like to put on headphones and listen to Spotify playlists — usually ones that spiritually whisk me away to a Marbella beach club. I even had an idea for a recent share plans project when I was walking to Alexandra Palace listening to Tom Misch. Don’t forget, inspiration is all around us!

 

2. Schedule in creative time

Like healthy eating and keeping fit, if you turn a positive practice into a habit, good results will consistently follow. What I like to do is block out 30 minutes each week to focus on non-project topics, which inevitably gets ideas swirling. Whether it’s a funky colour palette on Pinterest or a YouTube video’s cool intro, if you’ve got a process that allows your brain to digress from the day-to-day, when you’re called upon to come up with a killer title or poster design, you’re ready. That takes us nicely to tip three, which is…

 

3. Log your ideas

It’s great generating these concepts, but remembering them all isn’t easy. So, as inspiration can come from anywhere at any time, I jot mine down in my iPhone notes. Believe me, they’re not all winners, but it’s good to have a bank of suggestions for when that next opportunity lands in your inbox. Use a system that’s best for you though. Maybe save voice notes on your phone, or (somewhat controversially), physically write them down in a notebook; old school is sometimes the best school.

 

4. Ask your teammates

Often the quickest solution to visualising a fresh approach is by talking it through with those around you, no matter their areas of expertise. Listen to what comes out of those conversations and be a sponge. Your incomplete idea could quickly turn into something magical, so don’t struggle in silence.

 

5. Speak to experts outside of your network

Being creative isn’t always about coming up with an original idea; often it’s about taking something that already exists in an unrelated field and repurposing it in a new way. So, connect and engage with as many people as you can — no matter their industry — and see if there are parallels in your worlds. Limiting your contacts only limits your creative potential.

 

My final thoughts…

Adopting an imaginative mindset isn’t always easy, but by knowing what techniques are best for you when trying to escape an inspirational funk, you’ll benefit in so many ways — in and out of work.

The more time you invest in developing and enhancing your creativity, the more it will pay you back with creative problem-solving.

Are you faced with a creative block and need some support? Check out our Services page to see how we can help when it comes to translating your ideas into creative employee communications.

Carl Adamson

Creative Lead

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