Creative block is real – I say this while attempting to write this article for the 4th time (okay, 6th). It is not only exhausting but unrealistic to expect oneself to be inspired and enthusiastic all the time. Unfortunately, if you are a creative individual who has turned your passion into a job, the deadlines and deliverables don’t wait for anyone. So, what do you do on a day when all your mind wants to do is stare at a wall or mindlessly sit by the window – watching the world go by like you’re a part of a sad music video? You’re probably waiting for me to answer this question – but I may or may not have written this whole article to secretly jot down the hack for myself first.
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The first month of the year is supposed to be a fresh start – but in complete contradiction, my month began with back to WFH schedule and everyone going through the 7,89,643th phase of Covid-19. Naturally, the mood was glum and nothing about work or fashion (my primary beat) remotely excited me. I woke up looking forward to a nap and went back to sleep at night looking forward to the nap the next day – safe to say, the creative juices weren’t exactly flowing. After 2 weeks of being meh and dragging my feet with mediocre commitment to delivering – I decided to take matters into my own hand (read: my boss kinda, sorta figured it out I was phoning it away).
To find a solution for my problem, I had to first figure out the root cause – I realised that work was feeling overwhelming because there was no other outlet to switch off from the mundane routine – as we were more or less restricted to our homes. First things first – I broke down my tasks into absolute basic steps, instead of looking into it as a whole. As opposed to writing ‘complete the article’ on my to-do list, I started penning it down as ‘finish the introduction paragraph’. Once I micro-sized the task, it was much easier to accomplish it and the feeling of cancelling it from my checklist felt cathartic. While chopping the mountain of work into mini tiny hills helped me overcome my creative fatigue, I recognised we need more than one solution for this subjective issue. Hence, I called the reinforcement, (a.k.a the very innovative editorial team of ELLE India). Here are ten clever yet easy to use tips and tricks to get yourself out of a funk.
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1. Sonali Shah, Deputy Editor
“To overcome a creative block, I usually go back to what makes me guffaw. And that’s usually a PG Wodehouse novel or Sidin Vadukut’s fiction work. When you laugh till your belly hurts, I think some gears in the brain shift and it’s back to running at full capacity. It’s a simple trick, really.”
2. Zoha Castelino, Fashion Editor
“I think my usual blocks come when I’m feeling overwhelmed like there’s too much on my plate. The best thing in that space is to take a break. Not in the binge tv, go for a picnic kind of way. Do something else that I enjoy doing, baking something, playing the piano, anything that keeps my brain still moving. I’m suddenly re-inspired to take on something from a brand new angle I didn’t think possible before.”
3. Shaeroy Chinoy, Junior Fashion Editor
4. Sumona Bose, Beauty Writer
5. Aliza Fatma, Editorial Assistant
“Decompress. Take a short break away from the writing environment. Write MANY crappy first drafts. Let the thoughts flow. Writing and editing simultaneously can cause many great ideas to take a backseat. Write the easy parts first. Since writing isn’t linear you can start anywhere. Have a thought journal. Noting your thoughts around the topic can cause one to later connect the dots and build a precise storyline.”
6. Isha Mayer, Digital Writer
“Nothing gets those creative juices churning unless you switch off from your phone and just go to sleep. My go-to mantra: sleep solves everything!”
7. Sakshi Sharma, Junior Digital Writer
“To break through my writer’s block I use a font trick where I basically switch the font I write in to arguably the most derided font in existence— Comic Sans. Something about this playful font is so disarming. It lets you write without overly obsessing over every little detail. When I write in comic sans I feel a lot more free— like I’m allowed to make silly mistakes, explore and take risks.”
8. Komal Shetty, Fashion Assistant
“When I have a creative block I try not to fight it because what really helps me personally is taking a break and just putting my attention somewhere else. This however is not always possible when you are working on a tight deadline. So, in a situation like this, I try to simplify the task and breaking it down. On second thought, food helps, always! A full belly keeps the creative juices flowing.”
9. Priyuta Sodiwala, Fashion Intern
“When I find myself stuck and unable to create, I listen to music. It always helps me get in the groove and let my ideas flow. Go through my previous work and projects. A trip down the memory lane might just spark new ideas. Visualize my emotions. I try to put my thoughts into words, mind maps and mood boards to help me pinpoint something interesting.”
If none of these work, just like me, scam the people around you into sharing their practices and turn it into an article – because why not?
Looking for content on how to harness your creative energy productively? Tap here.