writer's block designer's block

Anyone who works in a creative capacity understands the issue of [fill in the blank] block. It’s an irritating occurrence that silently creeps into your creative process and brings it to a grinding halt.  Whether you’re a writer, graphic artist, or eLearning designer, you’ve experienced those blocks which always seem to happen at the most inopportune times.

Whenever it hits, feeling stuck is not fun; especially if you’re on a deadline or are just kicking off a new project. If you find yourself facing a severe case of designer’s block, try these five tips to get you unstuck and moving ahead:

  1. Listen to music

Many people who work in a creative capacity already listen to music while they’re working. So how can music help if you’re listening to music and you’ve got a bad case of designer’s block? Change the channel on your radio (if you’re still listening to one). Or create a new playlist. Or switch up the genre. Maybe your go-to classical composers aren’t going to inspire you today, but when you hear some Pearl Jam, you’ll be ready to let that design rip.

  1. Take a walk

“Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better,” according to the Scientific American.

It doesn’t matter if you walk around the block or talk a stroll around the office. Maybe you decide to jump on a treadmill or head to the track. Regardless of what you do, getting up and moving will help free your mind of designer’s block.

  1. Look for inspiration

If you find yourself so stumped that you can’t even start a project, search for inspiration from other sources. Check out what other designers are doing. Look through a book. Read a magazine. Check out the templates from eLearning Brothers, scan stock assets, or try out a new interaction to get inspiration about what’s possible in your eLearning design. 

  1. Work on something else

If you’re not crunching on a deadline, sometimes the best answer is to move on to another project. Take a break. Spend time working on another project, and return to the other project later, when inspiration hits.

  1. Engage in a conversation

There was a time when I may have rolled my eyes at the suggestion of yet another brainstorm session. Truth be told, I think brainstorming is overdone to the point that it’s not productive. But when you’re stumped, brainstorming and talking with others about your project may be just what you need to get unstuck. Find people with whom you can engage in a conversation – via phone, online, or in-person. They might have just the suggestion you need to move forward and create your masterpiece. 

The truth is, designer’s block is part of the creative process. My advice is to try some of these tips, find out what works and what doesn’t, and most importantly…remind yourself that this too shall pass. Before you know it, you’ll have more ideas that you can handle, and that case of designer’s block will be a thing of the past.

LizSheffieldBioLiz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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