By John Arenas | March 3, 2014

How to Crush Your Creative Block and Speed Solutions

Great advice and counsel from artists and entrepreneurs.

The creative block transcends the creative professions. Just about everyone whose job requires some type of strategic thinking or problem-solving has experienced blocks.

In a brilliant new book, Breakthrough!, the designer and musician Alex Cornell found himself stumped by a creative block. He reached out to some of his favorite artists and entrepreneurs and asked them for their coping strategies.

“At the risk of going off brief here, can I just ask: What’s wrong with creative block?” says musician Alexi Murdoch. “Might it not just be that periods — even extended ones — of productive hiatus are essential mechanisms of gestation designed to help us attain higher standards in our pursuit of creative excellence?”

Some, like Murdoch, change the way we consider creative block altogether, while others put it more plainly, giving explicit tips for breaking through. Aaron Koblin, head of the Data Arts Team in Google’s Creative Lab, for instance.

“They say an elephant never forgets. Well, you are not an elephant. Take notes, constantly,” says Koblin. “Save interesting thoughts, quotations, films, technologies…the medium doesn’t matter, so long as it inspires you. When you’re stumped, go to your notes like a wizard to his spellbook. Mash those thoughts together. Extend them in every direction until they meet.”

Cornell’s resulting work has been praised as a sort of rocket fuel for the idea-seeker. It is compiled with words of advice and wisdom that can give anyone in any industry a creative boost.

Read more excerpts here.

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