3 Ways Mobile Workers Can Conquer Creativity Blocks


We’ve all been there. The blank screen. The waiting cursor. The complete and total lack of ideas when something really spectacular needs to emerge, and quickly.

Writer’s block may be the most common term, but these temporary lapses in creativity eventually get their sticky fingers into every professional that relies on their mind to make money. There are all kinds of creative blockages, and they can come from many different things, or from nothing. Maybe you don’t like the client, maybe it’s sunny outside and you want to be playing instead of working, maybe you’re tired/hungry/bored/lonely, distracted or excited about something else.

The “why” doesn’t really matter here. What matter is “how” you’re going to move past the block and get on with your life and work. There are many different tactics recommended for identifying and eradicating mental blocks. Here are some of our favorites:

 1. Release The Kraken 

Even creative work can get redundant sometimes. We can start to feel boxed into our own processes, habits, cycles. When it comes to the 105th logo design or 7,000th blog post, it can be difficult to come up with any idea you haven’t already explored. So, let your mind out of its box. Get a big sheet of paper, or stand in front of a white board, and go crazy. Create a map of the blockages in your mind. Write swear words. Draw pictures. Use big messy shapes. Create connections between things that make no sense. Eventually, something promising might emerge. And even if it doesn’t, you will have released a little tension and maybe even made yourself laugh.

2. Change The Scenery

The great thing about being a mobile worker is that you don’t have to stay in a cubicle or office just because it’s time to work. Feel like you’re going crazy at home or in that coffee shop? Tired of looking at the same pictures on the wall? Sometimes changing our surroundings can change our mood, and when we’re in a good mood, we work better. Cohere loves to provide a new work environment for freelancers that feel like they’re going crazy. We have lots of different rooms and even an outdoor deck where you can get your work on. Don’t suffer through alone–come tell us about your creative blocks. We’re here to help!

3. Exercise Your Mind (Or Your Legs)

When your creative self screams “I hate you!” stomps into its room and slams the door, the best thing to do is let it stew in it’s own juice. You’ve got plenty of other body parts that are perfectly willing to do what you ask. When you can’t seem to break through, step away from the screen and go look for a good book. Read a chapter or five. You might just find that after watching all the other brain cells having fun, your creative self will want to play too. If you don’t have a good book at your disposal, or don’t feel like reading, try going for a walk or jog, no matter what the weather. Just turn your brain off and go. You’ll likely find your creativity waiting at your desk when you return.

What’s your favorite trick for dealing with creative blocks? Share it with us in a comment!

Image via emdot/Flickr

5 Tips To Get Non-Writers Writing

Ever heard the saying, content is King?

Most of us work, find clients, and communicate with our peers via the internet. The key to finding success on the internet is making it easy to be found at all. And what do search engines use to find, rank, and list us? Content. Words. Copy.

For those who write for a living, the idea of putting together fresh content full of relevant keywords and tag lines is a no-brainer. But for the rest of us, a single blog post can bring on a day of agony.

If you’ve got a stagnant blog, a boring home page, or just want to build your credibility by guest posting on respected industry blogs, here are some tips to shake off that writer’s block.

1. Find your writing time and stick with it. Some people feel their creative juices flowing at 2 am, some have to write first thing in the morning or they’ll get distracted.

2. Keep track of your ideas. There’s nothing worse than sitting down at your computer only to stare at the blinking cursor, wishing words would appear. Writing is hard, and forcing it when you’re not inspired is torture. Find a way to record ideas for post topics as they occur to you. Then when it’s time to write, you’ve got a little pool of inspiration to choose from.

3. Minimize on screen and real life distractions. How many tabs do you have open at this very second? How many message alerts, social media mentions, or Skype conversations are vying for your attention as you try to write? It may sound unorthodox, but try closing every non-essential program while you write. Fewer distractions means you’ll start writing faster, and sustain your ideas until the writing is done.

4. Create an outline. Maybe your 7th grade English teacher DID know what she was talking about. Get all your ideas out of your head and on to a piece of paper. Then, start organizing them from most to least important, or some other order that makes sense for your audience. Making an outline can show you where the holes are in your thought process, and help to eliminate unnecessary information.

5. Turn off your internal editor. Just write the words. Forget spelling, grammar, and whether you’re using the passive or active voice. Those tweaks happen after all the pressing points are on the page. Just blurt it out. Hurl it at the wall. Slowly, the crap will fall away, and you’ll see the real nuggets of information that will make your writing useful.

6. Experiment with different formats: interview, Q&A, lists. Blog posts and especially copy, doesn’t have to be exhaustive. It doesn’t have to be 400-500 words. It doesn’t have to be anything other than interesting and relevant. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be you that does all the talking. If three sentences and a bullet list get your point across efficiently, your readers will thank you for saving them the trouble.

I know we’ve got lots of talented writers at Cohere. Care to share one of your secrets for jump starting a writing project?

Image Credit: Flickr – Alyssa Miller

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