Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

4 Ways to Get Past Creative Roadblocks

{photo by Victor Borst}

Oh dear, it is truly the pits when you hit a creative roadblock, isn’t it?

It is not news to anyone who works for a living that even when your work is something you absolutely love to do, you can still feel burnt out by it from time to time. Especially after super-busy periods, like the holidays, you can really begin to feel drained creatively. We all know that no-motivation-to-do-anything-other-than-sit-around follows periods of creative burn out.

The good news is that everyone experiences this and it is usually fixable.

Here are some of my tried and true ways to torch creative roadblocks.


One: go to the library, book store, or magazine rack

The library is a great resource, and you very likely have one less than 15 miles from your home, office or studio. Head on over to your local library to browse the racks – all the access to other creative and visual works will likely get your wheels turning. Bring some spare change to make photocopies of anything that really strikes you and add it to your inspiration file/dream board. Bonus – peace and quiet. It’s amazing what a few hours in a new and quiet space can do to clear the cobwebs of the head!

Two: take a class

Sometimes learning a new skill can really spark your inspiration If you are a paper artist, maybe you’ll take a quilting class! You are basically guaranteed to get new ideas and bring your mojo back to life when you take the time to learn something new. Not only will you gain a new skill, you can add that skill to your current work, you can chat with other creatives, get out of the house and work in a new space. All of this is essential to overcoming creative drain. You’d be surprised how much good a 1 hours class can do.

Three: work on other creative or hands on projects that have nothing to do with business

I’m not talking about organizing your receipts, but if that’s something that has to get done, then sure – it is a time filler. I’m talking about creative, hands on things that are separate from your work. Is there a home decor project you have been putting off? A wall that needs to be painted? A recipe that you’ve been meaning to try? Hands on projects like gardening, cooking, mending, building or decorating  will get your brain into creative mode again!  Be sure to pick projects that can be done in one or two sittings, you don’t want to end up adding another unfinished project to your list.

Four: purge and organise

If all else fails, or if you simply cannot bring yourself to do anything else, purging is the next best thing to torch creative road blocks. Sifting through materials, cleaning out supplies, testing dusty pens and organising your workspace will inevitably remind you of all the projects your meant to start, the ones you never finished and spark a few new ideas for using that stuff you’ve been hoarding. An organised space is an inspiring space. get to it.

What do you do when you feel drained and running on empty creatively? What has worked for you?

Danielle Spurge

Danielle Spurge has written 13 posts in this blog.

Danielle Spurge is the CEO, crafter in residence and stitch engineer at The Merriweather Council. Since 2010 she has been specializing in custom hand embroidery – working with a signature color palette of bright solids and incorporating vintage fabrics whenever possible! Danielle’s work has been featured in People Style Watch and on The Today Show.



I hate to sound trite, but I often come here for inspiration when I have creative block.

What say you?