It is important to not only listen to your body but also your mind.
A quick disclaimer, I am not a psychologist or a doctor. I will be speaking from my own experiences with creative block and from observing the effects it has had on my peers.
As a college student in a creative-oriented major, I face creative block quite frequently. However, many students outside creative fields are met with creative block without realizing it.
Creative block is often defined as lack of inspiration. It can be associated with burnout, where there is a void of motivation altogether.
In my experience the symptoms of burnout are overshadowed by creative block.
Burnout often has a clear solution: rest. Creative block is more ambiguous.
You may find yourself asking, “Will I ever have another good idea?” or “Am I ever going to be able to create again?”. Creative block does not have a simple solution or does it have a distinct end; leaving the individual with doubt and insecurity. This doubt often pushes individuals to keep working until they find some creativity again.
However, I truly believe creative block can be a beneficial step in a design process.
Creative block is a signal to stop, stand up, and unplug. Most of all it is a signal to experience something different or new.
Taking a Break
This is not as easy as it sounds. Between the pressures of professor expectations, deadlines, and competitive peers; taking a break sounds impossible at times.
When a break feels impossible is the exact moment we should be taking a break. I am not encouraging to ignore work altogether, but rather to redirect one’s productive approach.
Building in breaks is seen to increase productivity and communal health.
Went we take breaks we are not only performing a different activity but we are experiencing different sights, smells, and feelings. This passive presception can contribute to our creativity immensely.
I believe when we experience something new we are charging our creative battery.
In college there is certainly a culture of pulling all nighters for the sake of studying or finishing an impeding project.
I would like to highlight that everyone has there own circadian rhythm and ideal work periods— so I am not dismissing all nighters. However, I do think overworking and lack of proper rest is a direct contribution to creative block.
Proper rest means more than just 8 hours of sleep.
It’s very important to make time for the things you enjoy. Although academics are a priority for college students, it is vital to recognize that life is more than academics.
Whether that is sports, games, reading, tuning into WKNC, meditating, etc.
To maintain a healthy mind and therefore a creative thought process, we must have compassion towards ourselves.
It is clear that creative block can plague the music world and beyond.
Although it is difficult to wait for your favorite musicians or bands to make a new release; it is important for everyone to take their time completing a creative project.
In my opinion, some of the best music is created through overcoming creative block and taking lots of time. It often leads to new sounds, new explorations, and a happier performer.
So next time you are faced with creative block, try to avoid beating yourself up or doubting your abilities, but rather thank your brain for telling you to take a break. Go take a break.