I always try to take a few steps back and really think about to function of whatever it is that I’m making. Form follows function, so that usually helps.
Coffee (specifically Starbucks) is my weakness. I often go grab coffee when I need to take my mind off of things. Sometimes I’ll also change what I’m doing and come back to what I’m struggling with at a later time.
I do some word associations. I take walks. I play with a stress ball. I watch this Ira Glass motivational video on creativity. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a creative idea while on my phone, so I try not to do that (Failing often, though). Creativity comes to me in weird places, so I try to visit them.
If it’s long term writer’s block, I read instead. You only become a better writer by writing and reading. If I can’t produce my own work, I should at least be reading others for inspiration and ideas.
I do a good amount of writing at work, and for anything that’s longer form, I write by hand. It really helps me keep my flow going, whereas if I try to type out longer pieces, I find that I get blocked up and just stare at the computer.
When writer’s block hits, I go for a walk. Stepping away from your desk for a few minutes can do wonders for the creative process. If I’m still stuck when I get back, I set the piece aside for the next morning and tackle it as soon as I get in. Your brain subconsciously thinks about things even when your mind is focused elsewhere. So even though I haven’t consciously thought about the piece I need to write for 16+ hours, when I sit down at my desk, most of the time I can at least bang out a basic rough draft.
As a writer, especially in a fast-paced environment, it’s not always easy to crank out a polished piece during the 9-5 workday. Sometimes you feel like your tires are stuck in mud and you’re going nowhere. You may need to come back to a project one or two times before you have a creative breakthrough. And that’s okay. Sometimes ideas will pop in my head at unexpected times like when I’m on a run or getting ready in the morning. Manage your time effectively to allow for the stops and gos and your work (and stress level!) will benefit.
I like to do research online to get other ideas or talk to others and get opinions. Collaboration really helps to get the ideas flowing in my opinion. I also try to work on another project if I am really stuck or take a break altogether and come back to it later.
Take Pippa for a walk!
I always go for a walk or exercise when I’m struggling through a project. It helps mentally and physically to step away from screens for a bit. When I focus my attention on something repetitive, like putting one foot in front of the other, my brain stops wandering and allows me to filter my thoughts easier. Sometimes even a simple conversation will suffice. A coworker might offer a different perspective that sparks a new idea and will quickly move you out of a rut.
“You cannot wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London