On Creative Block

This may not be immediately apparent, dear hypothetical audience, but beyond blogger and graphic designer I have aspirations of being a writer. I know I’ve written about narrative subjects before, but my actual fiction output has been, to be frank, a little lacklustre of late for various reasons. So in an effort to try and dislodge the creative malaise that’s afflicted me I’ve decided to write about it, and it’s creative block ilk, and how I occasionally manage to shake the damn things. Look, I never said I’d win any points for originality did I?

Being a full time graphic designer out in the real world, my creative senses are literally my livelihood so as you can imagine any sort of disruption in their flow is not only frustrating but also somewhat costly. Yet, since my brain is rarely a being that likes to be anything other than contrary this situation arises with alarming regularity, both with professional creativity and the kind that I use in the various creative endeavours that don’t earn me money. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of differentiation, at least not consciously, just that whenever I need to come up with something there’s a sizeable chance that a big ol’chunk o’creative block will lodge itself in my mind and fuck everything up.

Somewhat strangely I can identify at least a few causes of said block. Not all, mind, often it’s just a random occurrence. The major one that I’ve come across often is related to deadlines. Paradoxically, both long and short deadlines can trigger this, as I both have an alarming knack for freezing up when put on the spot and conversely when given too much time to work on something my mind tends to wander. There’s also the old, old enemy of creative thought that is overthinking the task. No, really, whilst the whole creative exercise is primarily thought based, sometimes you can go a bit too far and essentially end up confusing yourself into a dead end. The final one that seems to keep coming up is that of distraction. It’s perhaps the most simple, easily occurring one of the lot. You sit down to do something the suddenly SHINY! and then all your creativity vanished into the ether. I find that one the most common one too.

So, how to deal with the situation. Well, that’s a tough one, as I often find the creative block comes and goes with little rhyme or reason, but I do have a couple of coping strategies that seem to work. First and foremost, if you have the time, when creative block hits, take a break, go and do something else for a bit and come back later. While this isn’t great for deadline based stuff, it’s incredibly good for the distraction based block as it just feeds the damn thing. Then, hopefully once you come back you’ll have occupied your brain with enough fluff to get back to the task at hand. Another way I find is to doodle profusely when the block hits. It doesn’t have to be anything pertaining to the task at hand, hell it doesn’t even have to be anything particularly good or even legible, my sketchbooks are often filled with just scribbles from when I couldn’t think things through. There is also the written version of this where I just write any old shite until things make more sense once again. This is, as you may have guessed, is where this blog came from. Finally, and perhaps best on all cases, especially the overthinking, is have people on hand to assist and talk to, to both occupy your time and run ideas off. A fresh set of brains not afflicted with any distraction can be a godsend.

The quick ones of you out there in the hypothetical audience may have twigged that it this post is essentially a stream of consciousness to help my own current creative block. Well done if you did. But, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the matter in the vein hope that it both helps me and can assist a few of you. If it works, I’ll get down to writing soonish, if not? Well… we’ll have to wait and see. Would seriously like to start writing again soon at any rates. Anyway, as christmas approaches I’m hoping to spend the fortnight break that starts next week writing stuff to show you all next year.

Until next time, folks
—Needs a muse, I think
—Also: Bah Humbug Day Minus 10

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