A creativity block — often referred to as a barrier to inspiration — is the inability to access your internal creativity. It happens to musicians, artists, and performers but mostly to writers. Creativity blocks may last for days or weeks, perhaps months or even years.

But don’t worry, there’s actually a solution for it.

What exactly causes a creativity block in artists?

Anyone might experience a creativity block. However, artists (especially writers) are most affected by it. A person’s inner critic represents one of the main reasons why a creativity block might take place. Although self-criticism can be a useful tool for completing work effectively, it might also result in a creativity block if you are too hard on yourself.

A need for acceptance and approval can also give birth to a creativity block.

As Jeffrey Eugenides once said: “No one’s waiting on you to finish your first book. No one even cares if you finish it at all. However, if it goes well, it seems like everyone’s waiting on your second one”.

So then the questions start — Will the second one be as good as the first one? Will they like it? Am I a good writer? These are only a few of the questions that spin around an author’s head while he or she is in the middle of a creative process. The fear of the unknown might also affect a person’s creativity and cause a block that will stop him or her from developing a certain idea.

Other reasons for a creativity block can be the death of a loved one, a break up, lack of financial support, self-doubt, repeated rejection of your work, anxiety regarding the result of your project or task, perfectionism, criticism, or the loss of meaning and purpose in what you’re doing to remain creative.

If you’re experiencing anything like this, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

Step 1: Tap into your mind and write down whatever’s there

Go someplace quiet and dig into your mind. Whatever you find below the surface, write it down on paper. It’s important to always carry a notebook with you in case a new idea shows up. If taping into your own imagination doesn’t help you break the creativity block, maybe it’s time for the second step.

Step 2: Step away for a while and grab some “you time”

Forcing yourself to be creative might worsen your situation, not break the block as you expect. This is why you need to step away for a while and grab some “you time.” Relax and allow yourself to forget about your creativity and why it left your side. Nothing’s permanent and the creativity block will end, eventually. Just do the things that make you happy and fulfilled, be yourself and it will hit you when you least expect it.

Step 3: Broaden your horizons and push your boundaries

Instead of focusing on just one thing, get involved with different forms of art and creative processes. Don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and experiment in your projects or assignments.

Step 4: Turn your studio or office into a creative place

Sterility might lead to an empty hole of nothingness. To change this, turn your office or studio into a creative, inspirational place. Don’t run it like a hospital or a penitentiary, all simple and clean. Get messy. Allow yourself to enjoy a little chaos. You know what they say: In the midst of chaos lies creativity.

Step 5: Look for inspiration in the most unusual places

Step out of your comfort zone and start doing something you never thought you’re capable of. You’ll be amazed at how much inspiration hides in the most unusual of places or while doing unusual things. It will help you get a new perspective, view things differently and spark off creative ideas.

Step 6: Change your surroundings, step into the unknown

To break the creativity block, you must break the fear of the unknown first. Change your surroundings for inspiration. Brainstorm in cafes. Write while traveling by train or on the bus. Leave the comfort zone that’s keeping you from exploring new places, and step into the unknown. Become one with the unknown.

Step 7: Dive deep into your feelings and spill your guts on paper

You were born with your talent for a reason, and that is to spread your message in a creative way. So, confront your creativity block by diving deep into your feelings and spill your guts on paper. You got this. And remember, nothing is off limits. Dream BIG.


**About the Author: Ann Johnson has been involved in content writing jobs for 10 years.