12 ways to get out of a creative rut

12 ways to get out of a creative rut

Bridget McQuillan's Layout avatar

Designers know it well: you’re designing away for hours on end and all the sudden–there’s nothing. You’ve hit the dreaded creative roadblock. Maybe it’s because there are a million things on your mind or because you’ve been staring at the screen for way too long. Either way, it’s frustrating, and sometimes shaking it isn’t easy. We’ve compiled a list of things that can help you get back to creating when you’re stuck.

1. Walk/run/skip/jump–move. Get out of your chair and move your body, whether it’s taking a few laps around the office or going outside and getting  away from the screen for a while.


2. Have a drink (or two or three) with friends.


3. Find some inspiration. Get out and experience the world, and find inspiration in everyday things. If you can’t leave your desk, click around the web to see what’s being done to get the ideas flowing again.

4. Get out a pencil and paper and sketch out your idea. You might see your design in a different way once it’s actually in your hands.

crema-15 copy

5. Play video games.

6. Get out of the office and talk to real people.

7. Go to a movie. Or a concert. Or a play.

Processed with VSCOcam with b6 preset

8. Look at the design from a completely different point of view. Ask a 12-year-old what they think, or your grandmother, or (bonus points) someone who might actually use the end product.

9. Make something. Coffee, a meal, a thank-you card, a cake, a piece of art.

10. Play an instrument.


11. Go for a long drive and listen to loud music.


12. If all else fails, start with a blank page and see where it goes.

Tell us what you do to get unstuck. Send a Tweet to @HeyFlywheel. Here’s what some of our followers have already come up with:



Comments ( 1 )

  1. Eric M.

    January 17, 2014

    Wise advice from a very well known and influential artist who's has been works for decades.

    “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.

    If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you aren’t going to do an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

    Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.

    Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case."

    Chuck Close

Join the discussion