19 Inspiring Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Business

June 21, 2023


Kat Randall

As much as you love working in a creative field, you undoubtedly hate dealing with a “creative block” (or what some people call an “artist block”). You know what we mean…

You sit there in your workspace, staring at a project you can’t figure out how to start or move forward with. You feel uninspired. Every idea you try doesn’t work the way you want it to.

It just seems so unfair. After all, do electricians get “electrician block”? It’s tough to work in a creative field where there are some days you just can’t get the job done.

…Or can you?

The reality is that overcoming a creative block in your business might be easier than you think. Fostering your own creativity — and the creativity of those around you — just takes a few deliberate moves. Some of them are obvious; others, not so much.

Here are 19 approaches you can take to help you regain your business creativity when it feels like you’ve lost it.

1. Walk Away

This one feels obvious, doesn’t it? Sometimes trying to force creativity makes your block even worse. In these cases, it can be helpful to just walk away and give yourself time to return to your work later. 

Yes, it’s important to recognize that creative work is still work, and you need to commit to sitting down and doing it even when you aren’t in the mood, but getting away from your screen and clearing your head will help you approach the job with a fresh perspective.

2. Exercise

Getting some physical activity might be just what you need to feel inspired. Not only does exercise give you time to think, but also the increased blood flow and boosted endorphins give you the positive mental capacity you need to tackle your project. 

Plus, people who exercise regularly tend to have better cognitive function for creative problem solving. That means you’ll be better prepared to overcome any future creative blocks!

3. Play Music

Ever had one of those days where good ideas just aren’t coming to you? The simplest solution might be to play some music while you work. 

Music stimulates your brain. It can get rid of any negative feelings you’re struggling with that could be causing your creative block. 

In fact, Johns Hopkins notes that music reduces your anxiety while increasing your mental alertness and mood. Studies also show that music, like exercise, can promote creative thinking.

4. Read Inspiring Content

There’s a powerful effect that happens when you read inspirational material: it gets you excited to create inspirational material of your own. You find yourself thinking, “I want to. I can. I will!” 

Most of our creative blocks happen because we’re hung up on whether what we’re doing is good enough. So make a point of surrounding yourself with work that uplifts and motivates you. (And it doesn’t have to be reading, either — listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube video could accomplish the same goal.)

5. Try Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

Turn off your inner critic! You may have trouble writing because you’re trying to get it right on the first try. You sit and overthink it, then type a sentence, then backspace, then overthink it some more. 

Give yourself a chance to freely write whatever comes into your mind, so you can get at least something down on the page. Remind yourself you can always come back to the piece and edit it later. And who knows, you might be surprised that your first draft is even better than you were expecting.

6. Break Projects into Manageable Chunks

A big creative project can feel overwhelming. When we’re overwhelmed, that’s when creative block sets in. 

Instead of fretting about the prospect of all the work you have to do, break the job into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. Writing 100 words is easy — something you can probably do in about 10 minutes. If you do that twice a day, you can knock out 1,000 words in a single business week (and you don’t even have to write on the weekend!).

7. Learn Something New

When you have a really bad creative block, one way to get out of it is to find new ideas. How? By learning something new! 

It doesn’t even have to be related to your creative project at hand. You could read up on a historical event or figure. You could take a lesson in a new language. You could teach yourself a new skill. Whatever it is, this new information in your brain will get you thinking differently and give you a fresh perspective.

8. Do Something Just for Fun

Work hard, play hard. No, seriously — having fun is good for your morale! 

If you’re not engaging in activities that bring you joy, your mood won’t be very joyful, either. On the other hand, if you let yourself have fun, you will have a positive attitude and will be less intimidated by the possibility of failure. 

Ask career experts and they’ll tell you: having fun at work is good for productivity.

9. Do Something That Scares You

Oh, the dreaded comfort zone! Sure, it feels like a safe place, but in reality, you’re probably bored and don’t even realize it. 

Boredom never breeds great ideas. So if you’re struggling with a creative block, one of the best ways to get yourself inspired is to engage in an activity that scares or intimidates you. 

Not only will you get a boost of adrenaline (which can be good for your productivity), but you will also see you’re capable of doing much more than you give yourself credit for. Lowering your inhibitions allows you to be your creative self.

10. Take a Short Break

Work is important. We all know we need to sit down, focus, and get the job done. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take frequent breaks!

If your creative energy is fizzling out, you might need a breather. Stepping away from your workspace to stretch, take a walk, get a snack, or talk to a friend for a few minutes can help you stay focused, productive, and creative.

11. Take a Full Vacation

If only 10-minute breaks could sustain us indefinitely! The reality is that a long-term break might be necessary if you’re feeling especially burned out and dealing with a really bad creative block. 

Harvard Business Review will tell you: vacations deliver a good ROI for business. If it’s been a while since you’ve put your work computer away for a solid week, your business creativity might be suffering for it.

12. Get Good Sleep

We’ve all been there: you sacrifice a few hours of sleep because you want to keep working, thinking you’re accomplishing more than if you turned in for the night or let yourself sleep in. 

The reality is that all the energy you spend trying to keep yourself awake is less energy you have to be creative. It’s one of the reasons that Sleep Foundation says fatigue costs American workplaces about $136.4 billion annually. 

If you’re struggling with a creative block, catch up on your sleep, and see whether the creativity comes more easily.

13. Spruce Up Your Space

You’d be amazed at how much your workspace affects your ability to be creative. If you’re in a rut, try designing your workspace to be a place that truly makes you feel inspired. 

Sprucing up your space could be as simple as adding a plant or two, hanging a calendar on the wall, scenting the room with a candle or diffuser, or even having some ambient sound in the background.

14. Change Your Work Environment

Even if you love your office (or whatever your go-to workspace is), the same old scenery may start to bore you. If your surroundings feel monotonous, so will your thoughts!

When you need to break out of a creative rut, try moving to a different environment. Work from a coffee shop or library. If the weather is nice, stop by a park and settle in at a picnic table. Even going to a different room in your house could make all the difference when it comes to breaking through a frustrating creative block.

15. Talk with Your Clients

In some cases, whether you want to admit it or not, you might be struggling with your business creativity because you just aren’t confident about what your customers actually want. You can’t commit to any strong creative choices because you’re second-guessing them. You’re all out of ideas and need a fresh perspective. 

This is the perfect time to schedule a call or meeting with your clients to solicit feedback and bounce around ideas. These productive conversations will help you improve your products or services, develop ideas for a few new ones, and give you a stronger understanding of the special niche you fill in the market.

16. Talk with Your Team

One of the biggest obstacles creative business owners face is the notion that they have all the answers. If you have a team, remember you hired them for a reason! You recognize their talent and value what they can contribute. 

Opening a conversation with your team will take some of the pressure off you to have all the ideas by yourself. It will also renew your sense of motivation for the task at hand.

17. Talk with Other Creative Business Owners

It’s not just your own team members who can help you out. Your fellow creative business owners know exactly how it feels to be struggling with creative blocks. 

Talking to other entrepreneurs will help you gain some confidence when you remember you’re not alone. They’re sure to help you come up with new, creative approaches to your work, too.

18. Revisit Your Mission Statement

Maybe there’s a voice in the back of your mind (so far back you don’t even know it’s there) asking you, “Why? What’s the point? Why are you even doing this?” 

When work feels like work — just project after project you have to crank out to get paid — go back and revisit the mission statement you drafted for your creative business. This “back to basics” approach reminds you of the reason why you do what you do, so you can work with purpose and take satisfaction in the job. 

It’s tough to let creative blocks get in the way when you remember your why!

19. Give Yourself Grace

Most importantly of all, don’t be so hard on yourself. 

We all face creative blocks. We all struggle. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure or bad at what you do. 

Don’t beat yourself up over your creative block. Instead, accept it as the reality of working in a creative field (which you’re so fortunate to be able to do!), and keep looking forward. 

Some days will be harder than others, some projects will be tough, and some ideas will turn out to be unsuccessful. None of this is a reflection on you or your business creativity. 

Remember you’re talented and passionate about what you do. If you’re struggling one day, know it will pass soon.

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