Fear of White Paper

When you’re faced with a blank sheet of paper, the first page in a new notebook, the thought of marking it with your pencil, or pen, for the first time can be quite confronting. But it’s just a piece of paper. Isn’t it?

shutterstock_171554138Transferring thoughts from head to paper is just the beginning of creating ‘something’. Like any first steps, they have to start somewhere before they can grow into wonders. But if you don’t start, you won’t go anywhere.

The next time you come face to face with that daunting blank page, quickly get your thoughts down before the fear of white paper overcomes you. Or just pop your coffee mug on the page, at least it’s a start.

And there you have the beginning of creating something wonderful.

Your ideas are bigger than a blank sheet of paper.

Creative Blocks: Create Your Space

It happens to us all, when our minds are overloaded and we’re under time pressure to come up with yet another great idea… the creative block.

Whether you’re a writer, strategist, designer, photographer, illustrator… it may hit anyone creative that’s responsible for coming up with ideas, whether verbal or visual. Staring at your computer screen will not help you. Leave it alone, it’s not going anywhere but you can. Create your space to boost your creativity.

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I have given a few talks to design students recently in both Melbourne and New York and this has come up as a consistent and valid question – “how do you overcome a creative block?” There’s no rule book here, it depends on the individual, but here’s my perspective and what has worked in the past:

PLAY: have some fun doing what you love (music, games, gallery, explore, read…)
CONNECT: be with people that relax you, distract you, make you laugh.
DAYDREAM: give yourself a break, switch off, stare at the sky, whatever does it for you.
MOVE: it could be a walk, yoga, swimming, running (away from people)…
LOOK: go out, watch a movie, flick through books or magazines, but not on your laptop!

Lastly, most importantly:
PERSEVERE: don’t give up, it will happen. You’re creative and it’s only natural to need pauses. Creating space to switch off from your immediate challenge will help open your mind to free flowing ideas.

Tailor your own list of what works for you and keep a reminder nearby. Do something daily, or whenever you can. If the space you currently work in doesn’t allow you to do this (conveyor belt creativity line, enclosed corporate environment, no time to pee let alone step out…), BE THE ONE TO CHANGE IT. Create the space that works for you and allows you to do your best work. Then get on with it.

What do you do when you hit a creative block?