You've been at this project for hours on end, and nothing seems to be working.
The copy is stuck.
The title is a big fail.
And for some reason, you can't think of one brilliant, funny, or even semi-not-cringe-worthy to say to your audience.
You have hit a creative brick wall, my friend.
It happens, and it sucks.
But you don't have to stay there!
Here are a few ways to open your mind and get connected with your creativity again.
Decompress & Destress
Stress has a specific effect on the way your brain processes information and makes decisions — it makes your prefrontal cognitive abilities take a nosedive and blow up in your face.
Guess what? Your imagination is a function of your prefrontal cortex. So your ability to think outside of the box and get creative — those processes that require your imagination — they get strangled and go away when you're stressed. Here are some ways to destress your body so you can come back to your project or problem with creative solutions and ideas.
First, make sure you're fed, rested, calm, and hydrated. Taking care of your animal self means you've taken physical stress off of your body, which makes it easier to emotionally release stress. Once you've got that under control, you can re-approach what you're working on.
Second, make time to meditate, throw dishes, bake cookies — whatever that special thing is that brings you back to center and grounds you. When you take your mind out of the situation, your subconscious keeps working on the problem in the background. That's why the shower is the birthplace to some of the greatest inventions, ideas, and philosophies.
Give yourself the space to ground and get out of your head, so that beautiful brain of yours can work its magic.
Remember, the stress of forcing creativity shuts down your brain. All access to your creativity goes away. So when you want to activate your creativity, you've got to get into the space where your body and mind are feeling open instead of anxious.
Don't change directions philosophically, change directions physically.
Actually stand up and turn around. When you change where your body is in the room, it makes you change gears, which can inspire new ideas. It's a literal perspective shift.
Walking is great. Your body is designed to put one foot in front of the other for long periods of time, so your brain works well when walking. Not sure? Think of it like this.
Your body is in motion, increasing your circulation and oxygen intake, which can mean getting more oxygen to your brain and bloodstream.
Not to mention, whenever you create momentum for your body, you create momentum in your mind. This gives you the power to see the world in new ways, find new inspiration, and come up with new ideas.
If you're not an outside person and the idea of walking in nature makes you want to bolt the doors and hide under the covers, all you need is a walking desk.
This will keep you in motion, and help your creativity grow.
Start At The Bottom
Start with a terrible idea— no, the worst possible idea.
Because when you stop trying to think of a good idea, you take the pressure off of yourself and get your mind in motion.
Often the idea is the hardest part — like when you're trying to write an email or social media post and it's like someone hit you with a paralyzing blow dart because no matter how long you stare at that screen, you can't think of anything to say.
All you need something to get you started, and a terrible idea could be the sideways kick that leads you to the great idea.
When you run with the worst idea you can think of, it gives you momentum to work toward something better. Start there and see where that goes. As you try making that idea incrementally better, you're sowing the seeds for a brilliant idea to grow.
And remember, winning ideas typically aren't the first one you pull out of the hat — they're an evolution of something else.
Steal Someone Else's Idea
No, don't go out there and take something that isn't yours, but walk a mile in someone else's shoes.
What does that mean?
Pretend you're someone else. Put on a different persona.
This will help you use someone else's brain and steal their ideas (ethically!). When you stop trying to see the world through your own perspective and open your mind so you can perceive the world through someone else's, new opportunities and solutions you never would've seen before become blatantly apparent.
This is one of the most powerful ways to creatively problem solve and create epic projects. If you want to master this, you can look into the new book from Todd Herman, The Alter Ego Effect, or pick up some local acting classes at a nearby college, acting coach, or community theatre.
When it comes to unlocking your creative potential, you want to keep yourself open. Try new things and new combinations. What worked before might not work now, and what works now might not work next month.
Stay flexible and keep stretching. The more you practice these creativity strengthening exercises, the easier it is to stay in the flow.