Me Against My Brain

12-09-2014 | 1 Min Read

How to overcome a creative block

So picture this, I’m sitting in front of my computer and I have my MP3 player set to my favourite music playlist.

I’m equipped with my caffeine boost, I have my Batman figurine in front of me (for inspiration, so don’t judge me) and I’m all set to churn out an article for the next issue of this pullout.

There I am, staring blankly at my computer screen, waiting for an idea – something refreshing, something new. Something. Anything…

However, it is at this exact time that my brain decides to focus on dancing potatoes in sunglasses. As a writer, this is not an unusual phenomenon. We call this writer’s block.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this, whether it’s when you have an assignment to finish, a new project pitch to prepare, or a new poster to design.

We all have these moments when our brains refuse to come out and play. So how do we overcome this?

Here is a list of useful tips!

1 Clear your mind

It is difficult to get the creative juices flowing when you have a mind clogged with overlapping thoughts.

Before you start on your work, clear your mind of any distractions so you would have a better focus. One way to do this is a simple breathing exercise. Try this:

Step 1: Standing up straight and exhale completely.
Step 2: Keep your belly muscles relaxed, and inhale. Concentrate on filling your belly with air. Once your belly is completely filled with air, keep on breathing, expanding your chest and rib cage.
Step 3: Hold your breath for a few seconds.
Step 4: Exhale as slowly as possible, while keeping your chest and rib cage relaxed, pulling your belly in to force out remaining air.
Step 5: Repeat the process a few times till you feel calm.

As you do this exercise, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. You will subconsciously clear your mind while focusing on your breathing.

2 Stock up on ideas

We are at an age where accessibility to information is so high. We read, hear and see new things on almost a daily basis.

Each time you come across something really interesting, capture it!

If you like, you could keep an idea journal so you can write down all the interesting and eye-catching information you come across, and then you can go back and read them from time to time.

These little things that you find could lead you to generating bigger and brilliant ideas!

3 Change your atmosphere

Sometimes we feel saturated, trapped and confined after being in the same spot for a long time. A change of atmosphere can help to get the creative juices flowing.

Try taking your work somewhere else, like a nice café, or somewhere outside with some greenery, or even in the comfort of your bedroom, whichever works best for you.

4 Brainstorm

Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and just throw out every idea that comes to your mind, regardless of how silly they may sound to you.

Just get it all out of your head and down on paper, and get a different perspective on the task at hand. It would be easier to evaluate each option once you have them all penned down.

5 Take a break

It’s difficult to think clearly if you’re tired or overwhelmed. If you’re having a creative block, take a step back, and relax.

Give yourself a small break, go for a walk, go for coffee, go dance your heart out to a song – just do something random which allows your brain to rest for a while.

Once your mind is more relaxed, you’ll find that it’s easier to get your thought process back on track.

Which is what I am going to do now, so I’ll leave you guys to play with your creative juices! Until my next article!

Hyma Pillay is operations leader for the Leaderonomics editorial team. She was inspired to write this article because she was facing a writer’s block for a different topic. You can get in touch with Hyma at

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