EDIT: The creative blocks series is now closed to new submissions. At the foot of this post you’ll find links to the articles published so far – and if you sign up for free updates you’ll get all the new ones delivered to you the instant I publish them.
Right, let’s see what we can do to make 2010 a great year for you!
We’re kicking off the New Year with a new blog series – Break Through Your Creative Blocks. Starting tomorrow, we’re going to tackle some of the biggest obstacles encountered by people who set out to create amazing things. (That would be you.)
We’ve already drafted a list of different types of block, based on our own creative struggles and the years we’ve spent helping other people. But to make sure we address the challenges that matter most to you, we’d like you to tell us what those are.
This is your chance to have your creative bugbears banished by the Lateral Action team.
What’s Getting in the Way of Your Creative Ambitions?
Tell us about your creative block, and we’ll devote a blog post to offering suggestions for getting around it – or over it, under it, or blasting straight through it – to your next creative breakthrough. Here’s how it will work: Tell us where and how you get stuck in your creative process, by leaving a comment on this post or e-mailing Mark with LATERAL ACTION CREATIVE BLOCKS as your subject header. Important: unless you tell us you want to remain anonymous, we will assume you are happy for us to publish your name and link to your website if we quote you on this blog. We’re happy to quote you anonymously, but it’s up to you to make it very clear that that’s what you’d like us to do.
We won’t be able to respond to every comment and e-mail individually. But we will do our best to address every type of creative block you tell us about. For certain types of blocks, will probably get several people telling us essentially the same thing. In these cases, we may quote more than one of you, but probably not everyone, to avoid repetition for readers.
For each type of block, we’ll offer the best advice we can, giving you specific, actionable things you can do to get past your block and back in the creative zone.
By ‘creative block’ we simply mean any pattern of thinking, feeling or behaviour that interferes with your creative thinking and execution. It could be a great big block that has got in your way for years – or just a niggly little hiccup that holds you up at a certain stage of the process.
NB We’re not talking about environmental obstacles, but things that you think, feel or do yourself – although a block could involve your response to your environment. So, for example, “Being interrupted” doesn’t count as a block, but “Allowing myself to be interrupted when I know I should really be focusing on my own work” does.
A Creative Approach to Unblocking Your Creativity
We can’t offer you a cast-iron guarantee that our suggestions will work – hey, this is creativity! If success were guaranteed it wouldn’t be creative, right? 😉 But we’ve spent many years helping creative people of all kinds to turbo-charge their performance, and in that time we’ve seen plenty of recurring problems – and solutions. So we’re keen to give you the benefit of that experience.
Plus for many of the creative blocks we hear about, we’ve “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” ourselves. And we’re still here churning out stuff on a regular basis, so we must be doing something right. 🙂
We hope that the solutions we offer to individual blocks will be helpful to those of you who have been struggling with them. But we want to aim a little higher than just solving problems in isolation.
You see, creative work can be frustrating, and if you work alone, feeling blocked can be a very lonely experience. One of the things we’ve noticed when working with individuals is that very often, it’s helpful just to know that you’re not the only person who has ever faced this problem. Sometimes, that’s all it takes is someone to relax and smile, and start to see the beginnings of a way forward.
So one of our goals of this series is to take the lid off the creative process, examine the challenges together, and for everyone involved to realise that being blocked or stuck doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you personally – this kind of thing is just an occupational hazard for those of us who live to create remarkable things.
And we sincerely hope you won’t leave all the hard work to us. 😉 The best approach to creative problem-solving is collaborative teamwork – so we’re banking on you to pitch in with your own suggestions and solutions, in the comments for each post.
Let’s Go to Work…
Right, time for us all to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Get those comments and e-mails rolling in, telling us about the creative blocks you most want to overcome. And make sure you’re subscribed, so that you get the first creative block (and solution) tomorrow…
About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a creative coach with over 15 years’ experience of helping people get past their creative blocks and into the creative zone. For a FREE 26-week creative career guide, sign up for Mark’s course The Creative Pathfinder.