Time-tested tricks to save you from the crazy mental block

Handy tools for any creative person, when the brains just won’t work.

A. Mind Mapping: Sounds tedious but you just can’t stop once you get to it. All you need is a large sheet of paper (preferable chart papers we used back in the school-days), a few coloured pens/pencils and a room with some floor space!

No Erasers!

Now write the word that’s ideally related to the project at hand right in the centre of the sheet. Circle it. Now, just start putting down words that come to your mind — related or unrelated, branching out of the circle in different directions almost like a blazing sun.

These could just be simple words, how the word looks when you close your eyes — calm, chaotic, dark or a shimmering in daylight, lyrics from a song, a journey you’ve taken, your favourite food or restaurant, a pet, anything under the sun! Keep expanding and branching out into more words (colours, textures, sounds). Don’t think or deliberate whether it makes sense. Trust me, it will, once you’re done :)

Now stop when you think you’ve done enough or page is now full. Close your eyes for a few seconds and slowly open it and take a good look at the sheet right in front of you. Words will start popping out like magic! If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Da Vinci Code’, you will feel like Professor Langdon — words, symbols and signs just talking you, getting highlighted. This may sound a bit crazy, but it actually leads you to the light — to the idea or even the solution.

B. Stop doing what you’re doing & do something completely unrelated:
I know it might sound like a waste of time, especially when the clock’s ticking. Most often, that’s the major reason for a mental block — the time pressure.
But it really helps to take break. Go for a walk, open the refrigerator and look
for something to munch on, or simply look out the window.

Concentrate your eyes on something you may have never noticed. Just the other day when I faced a block, I got up and looked out of the window. I’ve been seeing the construction going on in front of my building, but that day I noticed something when I consciously looked down. The room (slab) sizes seemed unusually small. And I started visualising where things would fit. The couch, the bed, the closet, the tables and the chairs and so on (Not that it mattered to me:)

That’s it, I basically hit the restart button on my brain. Solutions came rushing like waves. I quickly splashed some water on my face and got back to what I was doing. Works every time! And no, it’s better than wasting time brooding on how you’re not being able to think.

So yes, these are 2 most tried and tested tricks that I follow to save me from the mental blocks I face at times. So sharing these, coz I care :) Ciao!

A graphic designer by profession and by choice, a sketcher and painter and writer by hobby. Things that keep my grey cells running and my mind at peace.