Posts tagged: Creativity

How to bust through a creative block

It’s a nightmare scenario: There’s a problem, maybe it’s even a simple problem, but all of your usual methods fail you. You think back to similar situations and still draw a blank on how to fix the problem. You try to will yourself through the issue mentally, but you can’t and start to panic and feel stuck.

Your mouth goes dry and hands start sweating. You feel caught in some kind of feedback loop that begins affecting everything, especially your confidence and self-esteem. You’re too caught up in your panic to envision yourself ever being able to solve another problem or complete another task again. You can’t even come up with a viable solution for lunch. It feels big, but in short, you’re suffering from a creative block.

Creative block affects everyone

You don’t necessarily have to work in a typically “creative” field to experience it. After all, everyone uses creative tools.
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Meet Bridgette Zou: Unstuck’s Artist-in-Residence

Though many tortured artists might disagree, the challenges of being creative are a lot like the struggles we all face, whether you’re an accountant, parent, engineer, or soccer coach (or somehow, all four).

The creative process has countless prerequisites — confidence, self-reflection, inspiration, resilience, the building up and breaking down of routines, not to mention a seemingly endless battle with impostor syndrome.

At Unstuck, we believe that all of us can learn from and be inspired by the work of creative people, who are constantly in the act of problem-solving. It’s in this spirit that we are very proud to announce Unstuck’s new artist-in-residency program. We first encountered the very talented Bridgette Zou much in the way that she encountered us — by chance. We are impressed as much by the emotional intelligence and skill of her work as we are by her energy, openness, and wisdom.

Over the next
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Why learning new habits is better than perfecting old ones

I was pretty proud of myself after learning how to make chicken scallopini.

I had boldly decided that I wanted to learn how to do more in the kitchen than reheat frozen waffles and so when I came across a recipe that seemed like a challenge I decided to go for it. (It certainly helped that the recipe happened to involve delicious things like pasta, white wine, and lightly breaded chicken.)

I wrote out the instructions on a notecard and followed them closely, relishing the recipe’s technical steps like wrapping a chicken breast in parchment paper, flattening it with a wine bottle, and then dredging it in flour. As I watched the white wine sauce reduce in a hot pan, my mouth started watering with anticipation. The dish was an unequivocal hit, even earning praise from my neighbor who refuses to eat anything that isn’t deep fried.

I was so encouraged by my
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3 mindsets for designing the life you want

This post comes from IDEO U, an online school where anyone can learn to solve anything creatively.

What if you approached your own life challenges with a sense of curiosity and creativity? What if there were tools and mindsets that could help you design and build the life you want?

Applying the design process to your life can help you determine what you want and how to create it. It provides a way to test out (or prototype) small immediate changes in your life rather than make drastic changes, get stuck at the starting line, or get paralyzed by the enormity of it all.

After years of seeing college students struggle to determine which direction to take their lives and hearing an outcry for open dialogue about this challenge, professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans crafted a course at Stanford on Designing Your Life. The course continues
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The best tips for getting Unstuck

For our four Tip Card Decks (available here), we condensed, distilled, unpacked, and repacked our very best tips into potent bite-size actions designed to get you unstuck. But it’s not a random deal of the cards.

The decks include Stuck Moment cards to help you zero in on the right tips — and that’s what makes them so powerful. When targeted correctly, your efforts don’t have to be big or showy or imported from Mars. They just need to trip the right wires in your head and heart.

But don’t take our word for it.

Read through four of our favorite tips, one from each deck, based on common Stuck Moments. If you like what you see, buy a deck or two. At $25, they make a thoughtful gift for someone (or yourself).

*    *    *

From: Conjure Your Creativity Tip Card Deck

Stuck Moment: “I
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Creative release: Stray from the usual

get creative

When we’re really, really good at something — whether whipping up a new blog post or finding our way around town — our thinking can start to get a little stale. We slip into autopilot, our creative drive lost, instead of tuning into our senses and staying open to fresh connections.

One way to shake yourself out of a creative rut is to toss out the map. For example, an app called Drift aims to reintroduce delight and serendipity into your familiar environment through a random series of creative prompts. You’ll be taken on a walking tour/scavenger hunt of where you live, pausing to fully notice and absorb what’s around you. The cues helps trigger your sense of play and adventure, so that you can see, feel, and think in fresh
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Creative release: The secret to better brainstorming

better brainstorming

Brainstorming as a group can be fun and energizing, but the results aren’t always better than when individuals ideate on their own. To get the most out of your next brainstorming session, the trick is for everyone to first spend time alone thinking up solutions — and then to get together to pool, discuss, debate, and refine. This format allows you to build on great ideas to make them even better. And don’t be afraid to fully engage with each other. According to research by Dr. Charlan Nemeth at the University of California at Berkeley, “Debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them.”

Source: “Groupthink: The brainstorming myth,” Jonah Lehrer, The New
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Creative release: When you can’t find the solution, consider the problem

the solution

When graphic designer Tom Balchin gets creatively stuck, instead of looking for a solution, he digs into the problem. Is there a tension that is getting in the way of a solution? More often than not, there is, he says. Emotional investment versus financial cost, for instance. Or personalization versus broad reach. Once the opposing forces are known, he finds it much easier to reassess what he needs to do.

Source: Breakthrough! 90 proven strategies to overcome creative block & spark your imagination, Alex Cornell,
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Creative release: 5 things to try when you when can’t step away from your problem

Illustrator Marc Johns likes to go for a walk or do dishes to relax his mind, but when that’s not possible and he needs to push through a creative block, he tries one of five things:

1. Instead of coming up with one solution, come up with 20.

2. Shorten your deadline to 10 minutes from now.

3. Put away all digital devices.

4. Use different materials, like chalk, crayon, paper and pen.

5. Pretend you are a pastry chef or a pilot or a hot dog vendor (you get the idea). How do these people look at the world?

Source: Breakthrough! 90 proven strategies to overcome creative block & spark your imagination, Alex Cornell,
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Creative release: Do something that makes you feel good about yourself

When designer Paula Scher hits a creative block, she does two kinds of activities. To get outside of herself so she can think in a different way, she might go to the movies, read a junky magazine, or take a long walk. To feel good about herself, she will indulge in a small self-improvement project like cleaning her closet, getting a haircut, or buying a new pair of shoes. She says, “When I feel good about myself I am ready for the next thing.”

Source: Breakthrough! 90 proven strategies to overcome creative block & spark your imagination, Alex Cornell,
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