Chasing the Muse: What to Do When Your Creativity Collapses

The Whole Brain Group Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing

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Being a Creative is a tricky thing. There are going to be days when the right side of the brain isn’t humming along at 100%. Since the writers and designers at The Whole Brain Group work in a fast-paced environment, we all need to have go-to methods to jumpstart our creative energies and fight through writer’s block.

We asked the Creatives at WBG what they do to invoke the muses when they go AWOL. Here’s what they told us.

Spill It Out

I often try to let my mind gush words and images onto a page by sketching or making lists. Allowing yourself that freedom takes away from the stress of having to “get it right” or come up with a brilliant idea right off the bat. And I find that my first idea is never my best.

-Jackie Ranoni, Art Director

Let It Marinate

Sometimes I just walk away. I’ll give it a day or two. Get some rest. Think about the problem or subject on my down time. And I’ll come back at it when I’m feeling re-energized. I often find that my epiphanies come to me while I’m laying in bed getting ready to fall asleep (pen and paper next to my bed is a must!).

-Jackie Ranoni, Art Director

Get Outside

It doesn’t take much to dry up those creative writing juices. A headline is enough. When I’m butting my head against the wall, there’s nothing better than getting outside and taking a brisk walk in the fresh air. I find a green place where I can get lost in thought and enjoy some natural beauty for a few minutes, and often that’s enough to get the juices flowing again.

-Will Kerschbaum, Content Specialist

Talk It Out

I’m an extrovert. While introverts need to think first about what they want to say, I don’t know what I think until I’ve said it. So talking things out helps me to understand what I want to say or how I want to approach a topic. It’s amazing the solutions that come to the surface when I grab an innocent bystander a collaborative co-worker to help me talk through the writer’s block.

-Will Kerschbaum, Content Specialist

Switch Tracks

When I can’t seem to find a vision or creative flow, I take a step back and look at pictures of cute cats (particularly my own photo gallery of my adorable cat, Mongo). Just kidding! In reality, I first try switching to another project. Sometimes I just need some time away from a particularly challenging task, and working on something else helps me clear my head and regain and redirect my focus.

Getting a glimpse of nature and sunshine also helps me when I’ve hit a roadblock. We have a pond outside our office windows, and I like to turn around and look at the groups and families of ducks, geese, and other animals that enjoy lounging around. (Jackie swears she saw an alligator in there once.)

-Emily Yanke, Designer

Go Browsing

I like to browse the web for creative and inspirational eye candy. I find great design to be so powerful and motivational, and the awesome work of fellow designers inspires me to think outside of the box. A few websites I enjoy are grainedit.com (they display a lot of contemporary designs inspired by the ‘50s-‘70s), adsoftheworld.com (I love an awesome ad campaign!), and yankodesign.com (they display really cool—and sometimes weird—product designs).

-Emily Yanke, Designer

Do Some Cross-Training

As a runner I sometimes get bored doing back-to-back long runs, so I take a break for a week or so and do some cross-training—like boxing or spinning. Cross-training lets your running muscles rest and recharges you while still keeping you conditioned.

The same is true with writing. Sometimes I need to take a break and engage in a different creative pursuit—like sketching or painting. I’ve recently come across coloring books for adults that are packed with cool stress-relieving patterns that relax your writing muscles and work out your artistic muscles instead. Coloring is nice because you can do it at work in between writing tasks. And unlike writing (grammar! punctuation!) you don’t have to “stay in the lines.”

-Donna Campbell, Account Manager & Content Writer

Think in 180 Degrees

180-degree thinking involves turning your worst ideas into your best ideas. For example, if your goal is to get people to dine at your new restaurant, you probably wouldn’t promote the fact that the parking situation is terrible. But if you turn it 180 degrees, you might offer parking validation for patrons who order an appetizer or give free drinks for showing a bus ticket or Uber receipt. This technique can unearth an interesting angle that you wouldn’t otherwise think of.

I believe that 180-degree thinking works best with a small group of people and a case of beer. But it can be done alone—you just have to get silly all by yourself, which is easy for me. Now excuse me while I color…

-Donna Campbell, Account Manager & Content Writer

Create a Private Spa

It’s not unusual for the Whole Brainiacs to walk in my office and find me treading away on my treadmill desk, breathing in my aromatherapy and tuning into Kelly Clarkson. With the hectic schedule of a business owner, it’s not easy to stay in a creative place, mentally, so it’s a must to work out the tension and renew the spirit. For maintaining a clear mind and renewed energy, it can’t be beat!

-Marisa Smith, President

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