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Surviving a Creative Crisis

By Sara McGuyer • May 26th, 2010 • Category: Thinkering

Somewhere in the pursuit of creativity now and again the ideas dry up. Whether working in paint, film or at a keyboard, it’s inevitable. It happens to everyone.

Eric Carle shared in his blog that he is not immune to writer’s block, or what he calls a “creative crisis.” In order to make it through, he surrenders to the inability to create. He says,

After sleepless nights, and days of raving against my destiny, I may call my editor and tell her that I have “lost it” and will never do a book again. I surrender to my fate. And that is exactly the point where recovery happens and creativity starts to flow again!

I have had a fair amount of writing projects for work recently, in addition to attempting some personal creative projects. I’m definitely no stranger to those moments of nothingness, followed by the need to rebound from the creative crisis.

Throughout my ongoing pursuit of writing (which I studied in college) and art, I haven’t personally figured out my magic formula for reigniting creative thought. I’ve tried facing the page, the blank canvas, the empty white glare of the word doc. I’ve dabbled aimlessly and created sub-par work that I usually abandon when the real ideas finally emerge. Different things work at different times, but an unfailing solution for me has been as illusive as the cure for hiccups.

I always admire learning about different individual approaches to the creative process, so I decided to ask my network on twitter to see if I could discover some new magic revival tricks. Here are a few of the answers I collected:






I’m still curious to hear more: what do you do if you lose creative inspiration? What helps you through? Please share your methods here. You just might help a fellow creative with their next big thing.
P.S. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who responded to my request for insights: @ LaFemCreative, @b_uncut, @artorArt, @ kmeelah, @meghkeaney, @sarahjbray & @dgooddesignco. You each get a digital high-five from yours truly.
Light bulb image credit: Pantonality via Flickr

Sara McGuyer is an account strategist with Wise Elephant and marketing director/board member for the Indianapolis International Film Festival. Find her on twitter http://twitter.com/sara_mc
Email this author | All posts by Sara McGuyer

7 Responses »

  1. You’re very welcome :) Glad I could help.

  2. Cooking a nice, long recipe definitely gets my creative juices rolling.

  3. A shower; the water and the mindlessness of the routine… a downright magic bullet. Oh, and music. Always, always the music.

  4. Reading helps me a lot, I always have three or four books going to match whatever mood I’m in. Car rides are good too. I’m free to let my mind wander and eventually it finds the path I’m looking for.

  5. Wow, it’s really great hearing about the different methods for getting unstuck.

    Here’s one from Matt Gipson via twitter: “Headphones & music always works 4 me. Surfing (web). Putting on sweatpants and working from home time to time works wonders too!”

    It’s interesting that most seem to fall under one of these: doing something very routine, doing something different, especially change of scenery or exposure to other creative material.

  6. Great post! I’m really grateful you put this together. It’s always helpful to see how others battle creative blocks. Thank you!!! :)

  7. [...] A post I wrote on Surviving a Creative Crisis on the Wise Elephant [...]

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