Everyone has had those moments where they’ve gone to write something, or draw something, but they just cant. You put your pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and you stop. Staring. Realising all the ideas you had were suddenly awful. Or suddenly having no ideas at all. There are many names people call this feeling but I like to call it “creative constipation” since you just cant get your ideas out no matter how hard you try. I am a person who experiences this feeling all the time, which is no good since I want to be a journalist, and even now it has taken me a solid two hours to even write this much. It is pretty common for people to be incredibly critical of their own work, I’m sure you often look at the work you do and you pick out everything that you see as a flaw even though the work you’ve done is pretty much perfect. Everyone’s done it at least once in their life, even if you think you haven’t you probably have.
So you’re probably thinking “well how do I solve this problem?” The simple answer I have for you is… I have no clue. Yes you read that right, I have no clue. I don’t have any magical tips and tricks that will suddenly get your creative constipation cleared out and get your creative juices flowing. Although I do have some tricks up my sleeve to try and help speed things along when things are seeming extremely difficult.
Tip number 1: Keep Going!
Even if you’re half way through a piece of work and you decide you hate everything, resist the urge to scrap it. Keep going with what you’re doing. Finish that sentence you were writing. Finish that line you were drawing. Finish that brush stroke you were painting. Just finish what you were doing. Even if it just that one sentence, or line, or brush stroke, once you’ve finished that you can take a break. If it takes you 10 seconds,10 minutes, or 1 hour to finish what you’re working on do it. You’ll feel so much better finishing a section of your work instead of getting rid of it all and regretting it a few hours later.
Tip 2: Plan Plan Plan!
It may sound really obvious but plan out what you want to create. If you want to write a story, think about your characters and locations as well as just a story line. If you want to paint, think about you colour palate as well as subject matter. If you want to write a play, think about how you want things to be performed, not just the dialogue you want performing. These are the little details people often get hung up on. Sometimes it isn’t enough to have a simple idea to develop over time, you need to flesh out what you actually want to happen so you don’t get totally lost in your piece of work.
Tip 3: Write Down Any And All Ideas!
If you’re lying in bed and you suddenly come up with an idea you’d love to do a piece of work on then jot it down. Whether that be a sketch, or a few words to describe a story line having them down on paper or on your computer means you can come back to these ideas at a later date to either flesh out and develop or to take elements that you can use for a future piece if you think that idea alone isn’t something you’d like to pursue.
Tip 4: Go With The Flow!
I know my last two points have been about planning carefully and sticking to a structure but sometimes things don’t always go to plan. If you see your writing going in a totally different direction to the one you had planned, and you think that would improve your work overall then do it! Go with what you think will work best because it’s your work after all. Likewise, if your piece of art seems like it’d look better blue instead of red, or green instead of yellow then do that. At the end of the whole process what you create should please you. If you can take a step back and look at your work with even the tiniest bit of pride then you know you’ve done it well.
Tip 5: Get A Second Opinion!
Sometimes when we’ve been staring at something for so long we become blind to what it needs, that is why when those doubts begin to creep up on you get a second opinion. Whether that be a friend, or family member, they can offer a fresh perspective on something that you are very used to seeing. They could offer an idea that may totally change the whole look of the art you’re working on, they could offer up a new perspective to the piece of writing you’re doing, or they could offer up useless ideas that just confirm that what you originally had planned was the best option for you. No matter what the outcome is, it never hurts to ask for a second point of view.
Those are my five tips on what you could do to try and clear yourself of creative constipation. You may read these tips and think they’re totally useless and wouldn’t be helpful to you at all, or you may think they’re amazing and the solution to your problems. At the end of it all the responsibility lies with you to get the ball rolling and finding what method works best for you to clear your creative constipation and get back into doing what you love. Creating.