Table of Contents
The infamous creative block is a dreaded -yet not fateful- condition that attacks creative professionals, most commonly writers and artists.
The creative block prevents a creator from producing any good content, leaving them uninspired and blocking them from moving on with their project.
We hope that this doesn’t sound familiar to you, however, let’s admit it, course creators experience creative block too. When you’re trying to put together your next eBook or video, or during any other part of the creative process, surely you’ve found yourself missing the right words or even an original idea to work on.
Creative blocks can be frustrating and stressful – they make you feel you’re not talented enough and, worst of all, you don’t know if, how, and when you’ll manage to get over them.
If you’re currently experiencing this type of mental block, know that there are ways to move past this phase and become productive again.
Table of contents
- What Causes Creative Blocks? Are They Even Real?
- 12 Actionable Tips to Overcome Creative Blocks
- 1Don’t Read too Much Into it
- 2Understand why it’s Happening
- 3Create an Action Plan
- 4Get to Work
- 5Set up a Schedule
- 6Have “Cheatsheets” Readily Available
- 7Change up Your Routine
- 8Take a Break to Disconnect
- 9Practice Self-Care
- 10Remove Negativity From Your Life
- 11Seek Inspiration in Likely and Unlikely Places
- 12Befriend Failure
What Causes Creative Blocks? Are They Even Real?
Creative blocks are most certainly real and pretty common. Understanding why they happen is the first step to overcoming them.
So let’s see the most common reasons behind creative blocks.
1. Impostor syndrome
The impostor syndrome is extreme self-doubt. It’s the (irrational) belief that you’re unfit for a job and devoid of any real talent or skills – that you’re essentially a fraud who will sooner or later be exposed. But if you keep repeating to yourself that you can’t make it and let your inner critic take over, your mind will get the same message and go blank.
Anxiety is a common suspect that kills creative thinking. Nothing can get you in freeze mode like crippling anxiety, whether it’s circumstantial or chronic. Anxiety also has the magical effect of making you think of the worst possible scenario: “No one will sign up for my course,” “No one will like the course,” or “They’ll all give me 1-star ratings.” As these thoughts escalate, anxiety worsens, and you get even more stuck, right?
3. Personal Problems
We all have bad days. Family issues, tension with your collaborators, or anything significant happening in your life can leave you unable to focus on your course or even find the motivation to start working on it.
One night of poor sleep can negatively affect your mood and creativity – imagine if we’re talking about months of hard work and poor work-life balance. Physical and mental burnout go hand in hand. If your body isn’t rested, your mental health is in jeopardy, and surely your mind can’t perform at its best either.
There’s always room for improvement, and it’s undeniably a good thing to strive for the best with every new project. But after a point, perfectionism becomes toxic. For example, it’s okay to start saving for better sound equipment or to reshoot a video a couple of times to improve your posture or way of talking.
But if you have started comparing yourself to more experienced and established creators or obsessing about every little detail that could be better, you’re likely to stress yourself out to the point where you experience a mental block.
Building an online course or an online training program for your online business involves several big and small tasks, from defining your learning objectives to setting up your online course outline, preparing the course materials, and so on. If you’re not clear about what these tasks are and haven’t prioritized them, it’s no wonder you feel overwhelmed and stuck at point zero.
Let’s face it – no one happily rolls up their sleeves to do mundane or repetitive tasks that they don’t like. When you’re working on something you don’t enjoy, you might be left staring at a blank page longer than you’re supposed to.
Another thing that can get monotonous is your work schedule or routine. Doing the same thing day in and day out or following a routine that isn’t working for you can make you stagnate and mess up your creativity.
12 Actionable Tips to Overcome Creative Blocks
Creative blocks shouldn’t debilitate you. Accept them as a part of the creative process, and remember that unless you decide to succumb and let the mental block pass on its own, there are ways to confront them.
1. Don’t read too much into it
Remember that creative blocks are temporary and that everyone involved in creative work experiences them. Don’t get yourself thinking that your inspiration is gone forever or that they indicate a lack of talent. Instead, do the following:
2. Understand why it’s happening
It’s vital to understand what has caused your creative block, so you can take steps to beat it. Start by answering this question: Are you actively trying to think of something to write or design, or are you putting it off? Are you indeed stuck, or are you procrastinating?
Because if you’re stuck, you might be burnout or bored. In this case, you need some rest or a change of scenery to get some inspiration. Procrastination, on the other hand, is linked to anxiety. We tend to put off things that overwhelm or scare us.
3. Create an action plan
You don’t have to build your course or digital product in a day, but you do have to get organized. If you’re staring at a blank computer screen because you don’t know where to start, the solution is pretty simple – prioritize.
Write down everything that needs to be done and decide what you’ll start with. See if there’s anything you need to outsource, like graphic design or video editing. This will get a few things off of your plate.
💁 If you’re just starting out, read our comprehensive post How To Start A Profitable Online Course Business From Scratch.
4. Get to work
One of the most effective ways to beat a creative block is to confront it hands-on – push through your need for perfection and anything else that is hindering you from working and just get to the task at hand.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t produce your best work. Simply doing something will help you move past the initial “helpless” state and start being creative and productive again. You can always edit or improve your work later.
5. Set up a schedule
Whether course creation is a side hustle or your main source of income, you still need to create a work schedule. Doing so will protect your work-life balance and ensure you’re not spreading the work throughout the day or the weekend.
Moreover, even though we all imagine creative work as something that occurs spontaneously, leaving things to luck won’t get you in the mood for work when you actually need to be productive.
6. Have “cheat sheets” readily available
Course creators work differently from those producing purely artistic work, so your creative blocks can be dealt with through practical methods. More often than not, you just need a little push to get the creative juices flowing again.
This push can be a “cheat sheet” you’ve created in the past, like a course storyboard template or a quick checklist. These types of tools are ideal for prioritizing tasks and giving you direction.
7. Change up your routine
You’ve been working in the morning, but what if you’re actually more productive in the evening? You’ll never know unless you try. A change of scenery might also do you good. Somedays, you can work from home, and others in a co-working space or a local coffee place.
Another way to break your routine is to get out of your comfort zone and practice a new hobby. For example, some people find nature sports exhilarating and the most effective way to recharge their batteries.
8. Take a break to disconnect
Sometimes, you just need to shut everything down and return to the task later. If you feel like other people are distracting you, keep your distance for a day or two to get your thoughts together and feel like yourself again.
Clear your head with an activity that requires your full attention. For some, this might be yoga, swimming, or walking; for others drawing on a sketchbook or playing a video game. A refreshing break will get the creative juices flowing again.
9. Practice self-care
Focusing on your well-being will help you unblock, although you really shouldn’t wait until you burn out before you take care of yourself. Make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep every night and follow relaxing routines that will help you rest mentally and relax your mind.
10. Remove negativity from your life
That’s easier said than done, and it definitely can’t happen overnight. But try to remove any sources of tension and negativity as they block your creative energy. This involves your own negative thoughts, which get the best of you. Meditation can really help with that.
You can use your work as a way to forget about your problems and to build something positive when things aren’t going well in your life.
11. Seek inspiration in likely and unlikely places
A creative person can find inspiration anywhere. You can start with a more practical approach first – read about eLearning trends and inspirational books, network with other creative professionals, listen to podcasts, and catch up with the work of similar creators.
Another way to come out of your creative rut is to seek inspiration in the world around you. A walk in nature, a book, a work of art – anything, as long as you keep an open mind, can give your mind the nudge it needs to wake up.
12. Befriend failure
Last but not least, it helps to gain a fresh perspective on failure. Accept that failure is a possibility and that it’s part of growing and learning.
Fear of failure is one of the biggest creativity killers. Embracing it sets you free to experiment and let ideas flow freely and without judgment.
Is Your Creativity Flowing Yet?
Overcoming creative block is possible. The most important thing to remember is that all creators experience it from time to time, and they all bounce back. Among your other New Year’s resolutions, add “not being intimated by creative blocks.”
🚀 You’ve got this!
Do you know what else is a great creativity booster? An online course creation platform that gives you plenty of choices to create all the content you can imagine!
Start your 30-day free trial today to explore LearnWorlds and get as creative as possible: create eBooks, PDF infographics, interactive videos, story-based assessments, and many more to amaze and engage your learners while offering them quality education.
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Androniki is a Content Writer at LearnWorlds sharing Instructional Design and marketing tips. With solid experience in B2B writing and technical translation, she is passionate about learning and spreading knowledge. She is also an aspiring yogi, a book nerd, and a talented transponster.