Let the creative juices flow: 11 ways to defeat creative blocks

Have courage
• If your creative block has you tense and wound up, stop being so hard on yourself. “I find I get anxious with every new client project,” says Plan B Studio’s Steve Price (www.planb-studio.com). “I’ll lie awake, dreading starting because I might not be able to do it any more.”

Focus on the projects you’ve successfully pulled off. If you’ve done it once, you can do it again.

Get out
• “I find creative blocks happen more frequently if I stay holed up in my studio for too long,” says illustrator Tom Hughes (www.hughes-illustration.com). “Go outside, get the bus into town, talk to strangers, see something new. The most important thing is to fill your head with fresh input, regardless of whether it’s directly connected to your art.”

The trick is to keep your influences as broad as possible, says Ria of Uberpup. “If you have no deadline then run away from your desk, to exhibitions, read gripping stories, chat to friends, climb mountains – do anything to keep yourself engaged in life, since this can give you inspiration when you least expect it.”

Set some rules
• If you’re starting from a blank slate, lay down some rules for the piece. Who’s it aimed at? What’s the emotion or message you’re conveying?

Just as importantly, what don’t you want it to be?

This makes it easier to figure out what you do want.

Look after yourself
• It’s all too easy for a big project to turn you into a vampire, surviving on a couple of hours’ sleep a night, shunning daylight, and living on 7Up and chocolate Hob Nobs. But are you really firing on all cylinders? Probably not.

A good night’s sleep, good meals and exercise aren’t a waste of time: they set you up for creativity.

Dissect the brief
• Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted and end up a long way from the original point of the project: go back to the brief and check that you’re still on the right lines. While you’re at it, have another thorough read-through to see if you’ve missed any clues that could lead to a lightbulb moment.

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