Every so often, it is obvious that the page in front of us, the canvas or the computer screen awaiting words, is blank and speaks blankly back to us without any flow at all. It is called, writers’ block or creativity block or artists’ block or inventors’ block. You get the idea – it is where nothing happens creatively and writing or creating if forced, simply isn’t even worth having made the effort – because it isn’t working.
So, rather than have that creative block last on and on, here are seven techniques that can help end it and re-awaken the flow of creativity, innovating, inventing, making, writing and creating –
dirty the page
Well, it doesn’t happen as badly with a blank page that gets nearly anything painted on it or written on it. This is the old, start somewhere adage and the flow will start up again. So, write something down, put the date, signature the top of the page or bottom of the canvas, use the weather or sky as an excuse to start putting in something until the rest starts to flow.
Dirty the page or dirty the canvas, dirty the work area with some possible materials then shove them out of the way to the side and start something with a few pieces to play with how they fit together and what those pieces might do.
My favorite for writing is – It was a dark and stormy night, written on the page. Then it can be about anything but there is somewhere already something on the page or computer screen, so I might as well write something to go with it – usually about something else and then I take the dark and stormy night part out in editing.
For art and drawing, get a stack of paper or small canvases or aceo sized cards and start putting some paint on them. Unremarkable or valuable – doesn’t matter, stick some paint on it. My favorite is to start with the sky or do paint or draw a rose to see if I can do it better than last time until the creative ideas start flowing naturally again. It works.
play in the paint – play with the words
Let go of what other people think and whether it will sell or what might be salable (sell-able) or marketable and simply play with it awhile.
Dripping paint on a surface is one way of starting to play in the paint and it is easy to direct once there is something to work with to move around. But, it doesn’t have to be worth a damn or something worth anything to someone else.
Occasionally, it is more valuable to experience the joy of playing in the paint again, playing with the act of inventing and making again, playing with the words to enjoy the art of writing again. Maybe it is always important to do that and to say this is renewing, is an understatement, especially once marketing and sales become part of it all.
let the emotions fly
Give voice and artistic expression to the anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness, boredom, grief, sorrow, love, hate, hope, joy, pettiness, annoyance – whatever it may be and put them into a written dialogue, or into the paint of the painting, or into the music as you create it (try to record it by the way), or into the words for a song. Make comedy material with the feelings, sculpt them into the clay or invent them into something that expresses it.
Letting the emotions fly into these creative formats is done without judgment or hindrance and the most amazing things are created with those emotions. Do another painting or another writing until it is done, or half-way or two-thirds – it doesn’t matter. Letting the emotions go into the work is what helps unblock writers’ block and artists’ block.
Just keep making another painting or music or invention or writing until the emotions are gone or have changed, become relieved or the feeling of satisfaction comes that makes it obvious that the feelings and emotions have been fully expressed.
what could be done with it – if
Start with a flower or something, (nearly anything), and what could be done with a flower or any other basic everyday item or group of items. This is the magic question, IF. If the flower were in a field of flowers, if it were a painting of a still life, if it was a flower in someone’s hand, if the wind has blown the flower’s petals off except for one, etc.
IF – is powerful tool to awaken the arsenal of possibilities, creativity and the flow of creating. So, start with something and write or paint or draw quick sketches of what could be done with that flower or that thing or those things. Whatever the theme, the mind can dance in and out of the possibilities without anything but playfulness about it, IF it is allowed to do so and called upon. That is what this does.
There is no way to see how this works except to try it. For me, when I was writing this, I started with a flower because I like flowers. There are a lot of them in my art. So, I wrote something to put here as an example, The flower stands tall in the soft nestled grasses sparkling with the bright drops from the summer rain. But, I can also see that flower in a bright kitchen window behind the sink where someone, probably me – is washing dishes and humming a bit of a song. Well, those could be leads to other places for writing – but not required.
It is only important to write down, paint, draw or speak into some video or recording of some kind for this to yield a flow where it had been blocked before. The same is true of inventing and making – start with a flower or something. What could it be made from? What if it’s like this? What if an entire gizmo were to be shaped like a flower to catch the sun or to catch rain from the roof to dispense it later across the yard? or whatever the theme or item or group of things you’ve chosen. It doesn’t have to be a flower.
what could be the story – idea cards
One handy thing to use for going around writers’ block and creative block are story idea cards that you can make yourself and some are available every so often in the marketplace for writers or designers or kids. These are used by famous authors according to some books about writing. I don’t know which ones used them but I’ve used them and they are the handiest tool to change writers block or artistic block into a flowing river of story avenues and worthwhile ideas while awakening the excitement of pursuing them.
Idea story cards are 3 x 5 cards or slips of paper, post-it notes or pieces of business card sized cardstock with ideas written on them that generate elements of possibilities for a story, a piece of art, a song, a piece of music, a craft piece, a sculpture or an invention. They can have problems to solve for the world or scenes and characters, riffs for a song or dynamic action sequences.
Using the idea story cards is easy, making them is fun and they offer questions as well as ideas like – who planted the flower, what is the scene around it, what part could it play in the story, does someone interact with the flower and use it, is it part of a bigger story about the garden where the flower is planted?- as in the flower example I used above.
You can make the scenes, the ideas on the story cards in different ways depending on the kinds of writing you do or the kind of inventing and innovating you want to do. These are a great way to end writers’ block, creative block and artistic / inventors’ block. The idea story cards give a place to start and a way to move the pieces of a story or invention around to play with it and that’s its whole purpose to ending writers’ block.
- cricketdiane, 03-05-2018
About CricketDiane –
I’ve been creating nearly every day since I was a kid and that is over 50 years. I’ve created in numerous ways in a range that moves from art to problem-solving to inventing, creating music, sculpting and painting to writing and doing various computer / online based projects.
I’ve created and created and created, been blocked creatively on occasion and come through it to create and create and create again. I’d say that makes me an expert in this – and some of these techniques for ending creative block and writers’ block will likely work better for you than others, but what I can say about it is this – getting creativity to flow unhindered is well worth the effort.
Writers’ block and creativity being blocked, hurts and makes everything else harder too. It is better to make the effort to move forward and release the flow of ideas to work with them and do things creatively, create things and invent and write and make – I definitely know that by experience.
You can find more of my art and designs here –
and other blog writings by me here –
And see my current efforts on GoFundMe to make a board game I created into a video game that I’m working on right now –