About Creative Freezes

It happens to every creative person at some points. Sometimes it isn’t because you aren’t still creating, but sometimes it is frustration with what we are creating. A creative freeze can manifest from many different things, but there tend to be commonalities as to why they begin. A creative freeze can also effect people in different ways. Any way you look at it, a creative freeze blocks you from creating the best material you possibly can and leaves you frustratied and sometimes results in people giving up.

Total Block
This happens to people all the time. The ability to create content becomes almost impossible. Try and try as you might, the ability to make anything at all is so difficult it hurts. This can come from a few different things I think. One of them being a sense of loss. I don’t mean someone has to die, I simply mean that you feel as though something has slipped away from you. That can be a sense of control in your environment, changes in your personal life or even a loss of confidence. For whatever reason it comes at you, you feel lost because some part of that creative cocktail you once controlled is missing and it manifests itself as an inability to work.

Another reason for an inability to create is overwork. It happens. People try so hard that they don’t give themselves a break. Everyone needs a break, even if it is only for a little while. If a break never comes, you will run yourself dry. Sure, some people may be able to work under these conditions for a longer period of time, but it will happen. When the time comes that you reach that state of overwork, the inability to create will be inevitable. People can not be rn haggard in their work and expect to produce quality.

Lackluster Content
I believe this trend comes more frequently than the total block as it allows a person to continue to create. The difference here is the quality of what is being created is greatly impacted resulting in pieces that a dull and uninspiring.

I’ve seen this happen many times when people not used to working under constraints have them placed before them. Sometimes they are self-imposed restraints and other times they are external. Either way, this pressure causes the creator to rebel and resist. The end result is work that does not meet the creators standards of production. The work is produced, but comes off derivative as it likely is. The creator draws inspiration from outside and instead of putting their own unique spin on it, they create something different enough to be called their own, but nothing truly their own.

This can again be caused by overwork. Some people can push through overwork until they create something that has been regurgitated again and again. The creator is so overworked and stressed that their ideas a likely pulled from their subconscious to create something that is mundane or unoriginal. They are still able to create, which may make them think they aren’t experiencing a creative freeze, but the production of a run of the mill piece should be all the proof they need.

Preventing Blocks
There is no surefire way to prevent a creative freeze. Everyone is different and needs to take steps to prevent it or recognize it when it’s been set upon you. Recently, I went through a bout of a creative block. What little work I was doing, felt mundane. I realized this a took a break. Actually my mind took a break for me. I shut it off and didn’t bother trying to work on anything for a week. When I came back into it, my energy for the project had been renewed. For me, my way to prevent creative freezes is to take breaks and consume all kinds of media, all the time. The other key is to never become obsessed with my work.

Have you ever suffered from a creative freeze? How do you prevent or relieve a creative freeze?

7 thoughts on “About Creative Freezes

  1. I think I may be suffering from a creative freeze right now. I think the problem may be anxiety and fear of failure. The thing is, I’ve taken breaks, and it doesn’t seem to be helping.

    My next strategy is to just decide that I don’t care and get a first draft done to see what happens. I hope it works…

    • Fear is definitely one of the things that can cause a creative freeze. I strongly thought of adding to this post, but I think fear could have an entire post to itself and I still couldn’t cover all the negative effects it can have on the creative process.

      Best of luck with breaking out of your freeze.

  2. Overwork. That’s my big bugaboo. I’ve been pushing really hard at both work and fiction since the beginning of June. Today, I’m actually finishing up a three-day break, which feels like a drop in the bucket of what I need. But it’s better than nothing.

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