Working in creative industries provides many exciting opportunities, which come with their unique sets of challenges. Unfortunately, we all run into different kinds of creative blocks when coming up with ideas, and they can be tough to overcome. This is more commonly known as writer's block; it happens to everyone. It's an entirely natural part of the creative process and is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I have personally experienced it many times. Don't worry, though; we have come up with our 10 Top Tips for helping you overcome your creative block!
Before we jump in, it may be helpful to identify why you're experiencing a block, as this will help you tackle it. The most common issue we creatives face is the mental block. You may find yourself stuck in an internal loop, failing to explore alternate ways to deal with the same problem. Your mind might feel drained of ideas, and forcing ideas only causes you to spiral. There is also an emotional barrier. Creativity can be intense! You may not be happy with your current sounds, and this can also cause you to spiral down into a rut. Alternatively, you might find that you need a switch-up in your schedule. Maybe your current work/life balance isn't quite right, and you need to take more/less time away from work. You could be working too early or too late; you might not find optimal working hours without experimentation. Finally, you could be feeling overwhelmed by the increasing amounts of work or ideas that you have. Sometimes it helps to break projects down into small, manageable parts and finish what you started before jumping around multiple sessions.
So how can you overcome your creative block? Here are our 10 Top Tips.
1) Take a digital detox.
Taking a walk through nature is a fantastic way to escape technology. Time away from all screens will help your mind refocus. This will also help you to avoid retracing similar steps that initially lead to the block. Taking a walk with some fresh air will help your brain reset. Perhaps try changing out of your 'studio clothes'. An outfit change may help you detach from your work in the studio, thus giving you an easier reset.
2) Download some more plugins.
Treat yourself! Going on a little shopping spree for some shiny new plugins is sure to spark up the creative furnace. Take some time to browse through YouTube videos, blogs and websites that showcase new plugins, and find a couple that you think you'd enjoy. Try to find something that you can have fun experimenting with, not something you feel could help your work. I find that creativity often comes naturally, so planning to find plugins to help with said work may land you back where you started.
3) Set yourself a challenge.
Leading on from section 2, it's always great fun to set yourself an unrelated challenge using your new plugins. Some examples could include: creating a drum kit out of biscuit samples or manipulate some sounds with as many plugins as possible. Again, try to keep it different to your work. Alternatively, try something completely different, like making some musical vegetables. Perhaps a carrot recorder? Corn shaker? Or even a drum kit made from watermelon and coconuts. Get creative! Here's a great tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5O3_C1sqw
4) Get some sleep.
It's possible that you're not getting enough sleep, which negatively affects your creative output. Maintaining a robust sleep schedule is essential for maximising your productivity. Try to avoid any caffeine intake 7+ hours before your bedtime. This will ensure you get to sleep easier and deeper.
5) Wake up earlier.
Many producers tend to be night owls, and while you may think this helps with your creative output, it does not. If you are stuck in a rut, it might be time to start becoming strict with a schedule and waking up early. Working in the early hours of the morning should boost happiness and productivity. Try starting your day with a cold shower. This stimulates your blood circulation and gets you invigorated for the day.
6) Try completing a monotonous task.
Creative work takes its toll on the brain. Taking on a simple and repetitive task will aid an internal reset. There's a lot of things you can try. Washing the dishes is a great example—any housework that might need completing gives your creative muscle a chance to relax.
7) Switch up your surroundings.
If you're often working from home, and after months and months of working in the same room, it might be nice to give your studio a fresh look. It always helps to have a change in scenery, but as most of us are stuck in the studio, it may help to re-decorate the room!
8) Go with the flow.
When we create sounds, it's important not to put too much pressure on ourselves to come up with something. If one day nothing comes, and you're staring at a blank sheet of paper or an empty screen, then try again on another day - it'll come! Sometimes it'll work, and sometimes it won't.
9) Take notes.
If you're like me, inspiration will often come at completely random times. Lots of ideas can pop into your head when you're not working, so it's always helpful to have a mini notepad nearby to jot ideas down. Alternatively, you could use voice notes on a smartphone. I find it easier to speak to my phone or hum a melody to save for later. That way, when you are stuck for ideas on a rainy day, you can scroll through your phone in search of any little golden nuggets you may have recorded in the past!
10) Don't get stuck on tiny steps.
Sometimes it can be pretty easy to become fixated on tiny steps before finishing off a project. If nothing comes to you, then just put something down! When you're really far into a project and just think that you can't go any further, it can be easier to put anything down, make a note of it, and move on to the next part of the session. When you return to the nitty-gritty sections, working on them in isolation may be useful by opening it up in an empty session. That way, you can work on complex parts without the rest of the project in your view.
That concludes our Top Ten Tips for overcoming the creative block! We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that our tips will help you out in the future! Remember that these tips will work on a personal level! Some will work for you and some won't. So try out as many as possible!
We hope you enjoyed checking out this article!
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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