I’ve struggled over the past several weeks to come up with an idea worthy of posting about. It’s been roughly 25 days since this blog has seen any new content, and it’s been driving me mad.
Be it the busyness of my schedule, the beautiful weather outside, or the various projects on my plate, I haven’t quite been able to get my thoughts in order or find something worth meandering on about. And so, I only see it as fitting to post about what one should do when they don’t know what to post about.
This article applies to way more than the act of posting a blog – it encompasses everything creative you’ve elected to take part in. There will be days (and nights) when ideas flow through your head as though it’s a gutter carrying the contents of a heavy rainfall, but other times – the days, weeks, and months when things seem to be bone dry, well they’ll be far less bountiful. This list should help to get the brain juices flowing and help you create when it seems almost impossible to do so.
Here are my 5-favourite tips for finding the spark.
1. Scribble Away
I’m a habitual sit-thinker. When I’m trying to come up with a new idea, or attempting to dive into the creative process, I’ll sit at my desk and stare blankly at anything and everything around me.
I’ve found that scribbling away – i.e. writing down any ideas & thoughts that pop into my head without any order at all – will help get me on track to creating valuable content. If you’re a photographer, snap photos of anything around you until something feels right. If you’re a musician, play some unorganized notes until a worthy sound fills your ears.
Scribbling away will break you free of the writers/creators block that you’re in and help to stimulate activity. Although it seems somewhat inefficient, spending 10 minutes fooling around often leads to the most productive work you’ll find yourself immersed in.
2. Consume Content
As a writer, I’ll find days where 5 new piece-worthy topics come to mind, and I’ll also find weeks with none. In order to get activity brewing and get your thought path on track, try consuming content in any form possible. Listen to a podcast, read a book/article, play a song, etc. Infusing these outside sources into your activity will allow for inspiration and will free you from the ever-present reality of your creative block.
It’s important to not get caught up in the content consumption phase though – it can be quite easy to turn a quick youtube video into two hours of completely unproductive work. Use the different sources strategically and make the aim of their use specific.
One of the reasons why most of us suffer from writers/creators block is because we’re focusing too much on the actual process of creation. The creation of new ideas/content happens naturally, and the second you try to force it is the second you’ll begin to fail.
Knowing this, a great way to get the brain-soup bubbling is to get your mind off of the topic of creation. Working out or meditating are two ways to get your body & mind active that will clear your current thought path and allow for natural thinking.
I find that I come up with some of my very best ideas & topics during or just after a yoga class – when my mind has been fully cleared of all thoughts and I’m free to meander mentally through anything and everything.
4. Take a Break
I’ve found myself many a time not wanting to leave my computer/workstation because it will cut into my productivity. Through plenty of experience though, I’ve discovered that this is one of the worst things you could possibly do to help the creative process. It’s important to understand when you need a break – and to act on that understanding – so that you can come back as dialled in and productive as ever.
I usually use my break to go and grab myself a coffee or take the dog for a walk. Freeing your mind from the task at hand will allow for a declustering of thoughts and will also give you something to look forward too during the tougher days.
Whether it be roasting a fresh pot, visiting your local coffee shop, or heading out for a stroll, don’t underestimate the importance of taking breaks throughout the day/process to keep yourself on track.
5. Environment Shift
The space in which you choose to work is as important a factor as any, and developing an understanding of which spaces work best for which tasks will lead to some pretty incredible things. If you find that you’re often having trouble focusing/generating ideas & thoughts in a particular place – maybe because it’s too loud, or too busy – you should always try and find a more suitable setting.
For me personally, the local Starbucks/coffee shop is an awesome place to create written/graphic content, chat about ideas, or to find inspiration. The atmosphere is perfect for these things and I know that I thrive when there. However, if I’m wanting to read a book or do some heavy studying, I know that the volume & constant activity will make it to difficult for me to focus/retain any information. As such, I elect to do these things in the quiet of my home office/backyard.
Knowing which environments work well for certain tasks will allow you to always put yourself in the proper setting for the best work possible.
This list is by no means exhaustive – there are hundreds of other ways to get yourself going when procrastination and a lack of focus seem to be taking charge. These are just the ones that I actively use & have found some success in.
Let me know if you have any other ways of creating some momentum – I’d be happy to give them a go when I inevitably run out of ideas.