The Obstacle and The Path: Facing Creative Challenges & 10 Ways to Overcome Them

LV Book Design Overcome Challenges

All creatives face challenges when we create our art. Whether you are a writer, designer or some other creative, there seems to be a familiar thread to what we all face and struggle against when we make our art.

We struggle with self-doubt, feeling uninspired, not knowing what to do/write next, procrastination, perfectionism, and the list goes on. But what can we do to overcome these hurdles that the creative process can throw at us? Here are just a few suggestions from one creative to another:

1. Change the atmosphere

Whether this means adding some new art to your work space or getting up and working somewhere completely different and new, sometimes a change of scenery is all we need to get new ideas flowing.

2. Don't be afraid to walk away
(for a little while)

Sometimes, we need to give ourselves some time away from our projects. New experiences, time spent with loved ones and even simple self-care can refresh our minds and put us in a better place to do more and create more...not to mention create better.

3. Change your medium

Sometimes we can get stifled by our art. Spend some time playing and experimenting with a new medium. If you are faced with a challenge in your writing, try drawing out the scene/character/setting to get a different perspective.

4. Always have a notebook/journal/sketchbook on hand

As you pull yourself away to go grab a cup of coffee or just go sit in a park for awhile, make sure you have something with you to just record ideas, notes about the world around you, or musings and errant thoughts that pass through your head. This will help your mind get back in the groove and perhaps give you just the inspiration you've been looking for.

5. Sleep on it

Like many creatives, we all get sleep deprived when we are working on a project. Our minds need sleep, however, to help with problem solving. Sometimes, a long nap or a good night's sleep is all we really need to get back on our A-Game.

6. Schedule it

If the obstacle holding you back is procrastination or a busy work load that prevents you from "finding time" to work on your project, then you may need to pencil it in. Putting time aside in your schedule means that it is important enough to warrant your undivided attention (which it is!). Also, if your project feels daunting, having a block of time with a start and an end can help you not feel so overwhelmed. When the time is up, if you want to stop, you have given yourself permission to do so!

7. Make a playlist

Sometimes, I need to set the mood for myself when I'm creating. I'll make a playlist that has the right tone for what I'm working on, throw on my sound-cancelling headphones and jam out. It keeps my active brain in the right mindset by having music that matches what I'm working on.

8. Redefine your problem

If that scene you are writing is causing you to pull your hair out because you just can't get "it" right, think about it differently. Change the question in your head from "how do I write this scene" to "how would C.S. Lewis (or any other person) write this scene?" Giving the problem an unfamiliar spin will help get your brain thinking about it differently.

9. Do something else that you are "the best" at doing

When we start to feel inferior because of a creative block, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is go do something else that we know we are going to kick-ass at doing. Do you make the best chili? Go make some! Are you a good runner? Go for a run! Do something that will get you feeling accomplished and good about yourself again so that your self-doubts won't hold you back.

10. Always finish what you start

Finally, finish what you start! Ok, this may sound like one of those "easier said than done" solutions, but what I mean is that sometimes you just have to get it done. Just get to a conclusion or an end point and call it finished. Move on, and come back later to the parts that gave you trouble before. Don't let one road block stop you on your journey. Remember, you can always go back and edit and first drafts are rarely perfect.