5 Ways To Break Free From a Creative Block

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I have been a creative writing and drama teacher, and I am a writer myself. I also work and hang out with a lot of artistic types. I know firsthand that finding and sticking with a creative activity is easier said than done. It’s common to fall into a rut, experience a creative block, or to simply feel you no longer have the motivation and discipline to create. To help you move past this, here are some tips for breaking free from a creative block.

1Go Back to Your Roots

Go back to your childhood. What did you love? Music? Acting? Remember something that made your heart sing and find a way to incorporate that activity into your life now — even in small ways. Take a drawing class at the community center. Get a keyboard and break out your old sheet music. See how it feels. 

2Get Out of Your Head

We are often told creative pursuits are not “practical.” While it’s hard to “make it” as a professional in a creative field, it is possible. But even if you don’t “make it” as an artist, engaging as an amateur is worth your time, too. It’s worth it because you love it and it makes you happy — and that can be enough. You deserve to enjoy yourself. You deserve to create

3Take Breaks When You Feel Stuck

Instead of throwing in the towel when you get stuck, take a break. When I have writer’s block, I take my dog for a walk in the woods. I don’t take headphones with me. I listen to the wind and my own thoughts. Very often it helps, but if it doesn’t, I have other ways to get unstuck. As boring as it sounds, taking a break to do chores or trying some exercise often frees up my busy mind to think creatively again. 

4Be a Patron

I also unstuck myself by consuming art. If I can’t think of anything to write, I read. Sometimes, I read “craft” books on writing, like Bird by Bird or The Artist’s Way. Sometimes I read a book from a bestselling author who is nominated for a Pullitzer Prize. Sometimes I read a fun YA romance. No matter what, I am more creative after reading.

You don’t have to consume only the kind of art you want to create. Go to a museum. See a play. Even free live music is good for the soul and the creative spirit. Plus, your money as a patron will go toward supporting other artists. Writer Susan Shapiro says it’s good karma to buy books as an author. Putting your money into the arts ensures demand.

5Passion Over Popularity

You can have a lofty dream for your creative writing or singing, wishing it will give you riches and acclaim, but monetization should not be the motivation. You need to enjoy and relish in the work of creation. Think about the last piece of art you enjoyed. You can imagine the joy and pride the artist felt during the creation process. Even if a piece of art is created out of sadness or despair, the passion fueled the work, not hoping it would endure for centuries. 

The Bottom Line

Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams. To paraphrase Langston Hughes, a deferred dream will wither and die. Your life will be richer if you engage in your creativity and the people in your life will love and appreciate you for expressing your true self. 

Tags: Creativity, Mental Health, Mindfulness, music

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Written By

Laura Wheatman Hill

Laura Wheatman Hill lives in Oregon with her two children. She has been published by CNN, Real Simple, Parents, and others. See Full Bio

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