Ten Favorite Ways to Get Unstuck

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Writer’s block. Creatively stumped. Out of ideas. Otherwise known as a Monday (or maybe a Thursday.) I often hit a wall mid-week, positive all of my creative juju has dried up. Poof. All gone. Bye-bye. It was good while it lasted. And that’s when I know it’s time to take a break. To step away from the computer, the canvas, the drawing board and just unplug.

For me, trying to power through these blocks and forcing my hand or brain or body to do the work is never much good. It’s like my brain KNOWS it’s supposed to be on and it just refuses to work. Take me out of my element, visiting a museum, on a walk, reading a for fun book and BAM! Lightbulbs go on, brain waves return to normal and I’m back to me.

Today, my TEN favorite ways to find my creative magic.

Read a book. I love to read. Anything from inspirational works from favorite artists, to fast and fun fiction, to classic literature to spark new thinking and help me get back in my groove. A few favorites to visit again and again when I’m particularly stuck Keep Going by Austin Kleon, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Franny and Zoey by J. D. Salinger.

Visit a museum, gallery or local shop. Getting out of my environment is a surefire way to spark inspiration and new thinking. Seeing the work of others, spotting a new color combination or product gets me out of my head and back into the world of curiosity all around me.

Turn off my phone, my email, my distractions. Some days, I just need to turn down the noise and hunker down. Keep writing through the block. Painting until I find some tiny piece I like. When stuck, I can find a distraction in ANYTHING that pops my way, forcing some focus and mono-tasking into my days helps me to push through the block and just keep making.

Switch mediums. If I’ve stared at a blank canvas for too long, or tried again and again to save a poorly written article, I know it’s time to step away. Give myself a break. Try something new. Doodle a quick sketch on a heavy writing day. Snap a few photos on a painting day. The change in action helps me to view my work through a new lens, sparking the joy I need to find to start again.

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Watch a movie or a show. Zone out. Unplug. Tune into something fun, quirky and just mindless enough to distract me from the work at hand. My go-tos of late: Schitt’s Creek, Sex and the City and Killing Eve.

Research. Hopping on Pinterest to get some inspiration from others work, studying authors I love, or listening to podcasts from like-minded creatives helps keep me grounded and inspired. We all go through these blocks, regularly, and sometimes just doing a bit of research gives me the inspiration I need to keep going.

Go outside. A walk with the dog, a time to cloud gaze. Changing my scenery and getting some fresh air is ALMOST always a recipe for good things ahead.

Do some yoga. Take a run, catch a workout class. Movement, most days, leaves me energized and excited as I make my work.

Take a nap. No explanation needed.

Make something bad. Yes. It’s true. Making something terrible, that I’m not proud of, is sometimes the best way to get unstuck. It removes the pressure of making, reminds me that I do this work because I love it. I love the learning, the growing, the process. And that a lot of times, what I make, is bad. And that’s 100% okay.

Tell me, creative souls. What helps you get unstuck?

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