Top tips for overcoming a creative block

“I’m not running out of ideas, just trying to push myself into better ones.” – Mike McQuade

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, the bane of the blank canvas holds us back (yes it’s 100% real). If you’re a creative you probably know exactly what I’m talking about and have experienced it way too many times than you’d like to imagine, one way or another you’ve thankfully made it out the other side but there are times where the frustration of not knowing why its happening and how to fix it feel like you’re just getting nowhere. Fortunately its a completely normal element of the creative process and ultimately happens to the best of us.

Read our top tips below to getting on the path of setting your creative flame free.

1. Clear your mind and drop the pressure

Perhaps your inner critic is playing havoc with your emotions or life is just too busy to create capacity. Creativity as we know it can be intense; faced with the unknown is a daunting task and the pressure to produce something innovative and new can take a hold of us, after all we are only human. We can take comfort in the fact that creatives are pretty much a hub for innovation and some of the best solutions in the world came from a creative mind. So just relaxing our 1,000,000 ideas a minute can prove to be a positive move for new beginnings.

2. Take some time out and don’t browbeat yourself

A lot of thinking time is crucial, and it happens where you can’t see it. Our conscious brains work by taking control and trying to make all the right decisions, it often doesn’t notice all the possible solutions or make use of resources, driving the appearance of our sub-conscious minds. Often the sub-conscious is likened to a well-oiled machine meaning it does not have the magnitude nor time to reason or judge, rather it just follows the task set. We often later only discover this whilst showering or doing the washing up that it’s really been sat in the background working away to find an answer.

3. Forget the brief and kill your work babies (not literally)

Yep. That’s right, creatives have work babies, and lots of them. Each and every one of our ideas that show potential in working become our children. We mother them, love them, nurture them, cuddle them and wave them out the door when they go. It’s a strange analogy to be thinking about, but often we can get so attached to an idea, its better to throw it in the bin and start again. Taking the reigns off ourselves and the brief can breakthrough a different approach and come up with solutions far more workable than we originally imagined.

4. Defy yourself and keep the creative romance ‘alive’

Sometimes all we need is a little excitement, some inspiration, some je ne sais quoi. De-face your canvas and make something more of it, you now have something to fix or improve. Then make sure you go do something else, something mindless and mundane. A little holiday for your brain can make you more focused and breaking the barrier on the norm of routines can be exactly what the doctor ordered for your next important project.

5. Sketch 10 ideas in a minute and time yourself

It’s no secret that writers, artists, graphic designers, illustrators, animators, web designers are obsessive perfectionists and our own worst art critics. If you’ve got a tendency to smother that one idea to death then forcing yourself to list or sketch 10 possible next moves on paper with only a minute for a deadline, will urge your mind to stop fretting over the perfect ‘solve it all’ concept and reveal new perspectives you would never have thought of otherwise.

Speak to the team on 01242 250692 or email

You might also like

Working from home: top 10 tips

Working from home: top 10 tips

Has the time come for you to work from home? Fear not my fellow office working folk; remote working doesn't have to be a bad thing. With remote and hybrid working firmly on the agenda post-pandemic, some employees may work from home as an alternative to the office....

APT Academy (Bethan)

APT Academy (Bethan)

Dogs. Biscuits. Tea. When these 3 things are involved in work experience, you just know it’s going to be a good week. Arriving through the door on Monday morning, I honestly had no idea of what to expect for the upcoming week of my work experience here at apt. Would I...

When Paper Created Print

When Paper Created Print

"Paper" as we know it, derived from papyrus that is Ancient Greek for the Cyperus Papyrus plant where a thick-paper like material produced from the pith of the plant and is prepared by shaving off thin ribbon strips and dried before being broken down and pressed. The...