Help, I Have Creativity Block!

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Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Perhaps most of us frequently experienced a creativity block. This creativity block signed with the lost of creative ideas or inspirations we need to create a work or finished certain problem. If the deadline is coming closer, this creativity block will be really frustrating, and can lead to the anxiety that we cannot finish the creative project. But creativity block is not the end of the world! The first thing we can do is to recognize the reason behind this block. These are the main reasons of creativity block:

1. Stick with one way

We use to see a problem with one certain way. This way could be effective to be used in the past, but different problem maybe need to be looked at a different point of view. For example, if people get used to read a book from forward to backward, we can try to read the book from backward to forward, just to make us see the things in different way and get new creative ideas.

2. Fear

To be creative, usually make us have to explore the things we’ve never tried before. When we feel the pressure to success directly or afraid of being poorly rated by others, our creativity could be hampered. Creativity are moved by the words, “If it is like this, how would it be?” The more things we try, the more easily we get creative. When we were too rigid to become perfect, being “right”, the creativity will stop flowing.

3. False work management

There are times where our works become so effective or less effective. There are people who feel more energized on the morning and some people on the evening. Recognizing the most effective time of our work can be very helpful to overcome the block. If we feel too tired and unable to feel inspired on the evening, don’t try to do our creative projects on the evening. Try on the other time, such as in the morning before we got to campus/work.

4. Idea that not fully formed

Not all idea gets its full form on one time. Maybe we have stacks of idea that feel not connected at all, one idea that feel unfit. What we need is a time to not to think of those ideas, until we get inspired to fulfill the ideas that we had. This moment usually called “eureka!” moment. We can do our daily activities, relax, watch movies, take a walk, or meet people. Inspirations usually come in these situations.

5. Lack of information

We get some difficulties to develop our creative process because the lack of information about the subject we working on. For example, when we try to write a film script about a misguided cult of electric pole devotees (okay, I am just kidding, but I mean -any- misguided cult, or about specific theme such as autism), maybe we feel not really able to write the story because we still not read a lot about it. In creative area, information is a weapon. The more information we get, our creativity will get richer.

6. Boredom

Sometimes we put too much time to work on a creative project, until we get “fed up” and trying to run from that project. On these times, it will be hard to get new and bright ideas. We can leave our creative project for a while.

7. Fatigue

We have worked too long and too hard, that our brain lost its energy to think clearly. Debbie Millman, a creative worker, put “sleep” on the number one solution to handle the creativity block.

8. Personal problem

The problem outside the creative process such as monetary problem or a quarrel with closest person may become our barrier to think creative. We can handle this by using the problem as inspiration for our creative project! If we still think about it, we can override our project and finished our personal problem first.

9. What for?

Our creative process blocked because we suddenly think that the creative project we are working is useless. We are working on a novel, and think that the novel is not really good and it can’t be published later. This thought makes our mind block itself. Reassess our motivation can be the solution for the reason. After we found a strong reason to continue the project, we can hold on any longer to find and execute our best ideas.

There are a lot of things we can do to handle creativity block, and all of them depends on what we need at the time. We hope that after we found the main reason, and applied the solution, our creativity can be flow again.


Writer: Farida Susanty is the alumnus of Psychology Faculty Padjadjaran University year 2008. She is working as a reporter on a teen magazine in Jakarta and still active in the fiction world. She has published two books, the novel “Dan Hujan pun Berhenti” (2007) that received Khatulistiwa Awards 2006-2007 and the short stories collection book “Karena Kita Tidak Kenal” (2010) which one of its story filmed on LA Lights Indie Fest 2011 and became the nominee of FFI 2012. Farida also involved in collaboration projects, such as Empat Elemen vol. 2 (2011), The Journeys (2011), and A to Z by Request (2013). She can be reached on her Twitter account,

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