Slope Blog

How to Deal With Creative Block

[fa icon="calendar"] 8/23/18 8:39 AM / by Hassaan Bey

We’ve all been there: staring at a blank screen without knowing what to type or finding it hard to focus at the task at hand. Creative block doesn’t just affect writers. Whether it’s due to a lack of inspiration, feeling overwhelmed, or dealing with a personal or emotional hardship, you can be mentally encumbered in any industry.




Instead of shutting down or distracting yourself with click bait to avoid the problem, here are a few methods that can help with some of the most common creative blocks you may encounter.

Missing Inspiration

Everyone has felt uninspired at some point. Whether it’s because you’re working on an assignment that you have little interest in, because you’re unhappy with your environment, or are merely content with the status quo, a lack of motivation can poison your creative well with mediocrity.

Instead of agonizing in that environment, change it up! Leave your laptop for a few minutes. Step outside for a breath of fresh air, walk to your nearest coffee shop or go somewhere new entirely. Once you’ve taken a few minutes, think again about the project on hand.

Is there a way that you can relate it to an experience you’ve had in your life? Can you add a splash of change to your monotonous surroundings? As elementary as mind-mapping sounds, it can be a great way to connect otherwise disparate ideas and lead you down thought paths originally blocked by your inspirational rut.

Feeling Pressure or Overwhelmed

If there’s a deadline looming or twelve different tasks that need completing, the pressure can feel overwhelming. When you host a dinner, you have to clean your apartment, go to the store to buy food and extra cutlery, and explain how nine cars will fit on your city block. Then you have to go to the store again because you forgot about appetizers, resurrect your tablecloth, realize you haven’t walked the dog until it’s too late, call your mom for her birthday, and find out an hour beforehand that you invited more people than you have seats.

Stop for a minute. Breathe. Prioritize.

Write a list of every task that you need to do, and then assign timeframes and a chronological order in which they need to be done. The more organized you can get and the clearer your checklist, the more clarity you’ll get on the way forward.

It might be unrealistic for you to do everything necessary in the time allotted. If this is the case, weigh the importance of your items on your list. Organize it by the level of importance, time consumption, and order in which tasks need to be done, outsource what’s necessary, and stick to the rest.

Lack of New Ideas or Material

Your last campaign was a great success. Over the last several weeks you ate, drank, and breathed each piece of content. You made sure that every piece was a perfect brand fit and properly amplified your brand’s core values. MQLs roll in and KPIs are exceeded.

But that was two weeks ago. Since then, you have no idea what to create next—or even have a theme that interests you. How do you get that proverbial light bulb to turn on again? Unfortunately, you can’t force an idea; you can, however, find one.

Look back through some of your older material. As people grow, they begin to see concepts and situations through a different lens. A content idea you wrote down months ago might suddenly have a new level of relevance. Try to look at your work through the eyes of someone else. Topic clusters are growing popular in the marketing world, but then can be useful in the creative realm as well. How many times has Stephen King written about the same themes?

Think of creativity like a tree. The trunk is an idea, the limb was your campaign, and the branches were your paintings. Sometimes the best way to find new material is to revert to the creative trunk and test out a new limb.

In the end, different strategies work for different people. Finding inspiration or working through an overwhelming task list isn’t easy. Not only are your methods for coping going to be trial and error, but just because one method works today doesn’t mean that it will work for you tomorrow. Continuously trying to find new ways to overcome your creative block, you will eventually discover one tailor-fit for you. Then you can boost your productivity, and you can start to fill that empty page with words.

How have you solved your creative block? Tell us your methods below.

Hassaan Bey

Written by Hassaan Bey

Hassaan is the Creative Manager at Slope. He's worked with brands on hundreds of campaigns and projects to help tell their story.