Journalists, bloggers, content writers, TED talkers and anyone else who writes knows the mind-numbing, wall-climbing, pencil snapping effects of inspiration’s evil twin: writer’s block. You’ve got to get it together, as the clock ticks down to your deadline and . . . nothing’s happening to pull your project together. Inspiration has long left the building and there you are – stuck. Some people think powering through a creative block is the way to go, while others seek different perspectives, talking it out and some just find taking a break gets their creative juices flowing again. To some, taking a break can look a lot like procrastination when looking at the strategies of 20 company founders at Entrepreneur.com, we can’t help but notice each of these success stories has their own little tricks to break through writer’s block and get back to tickling their creative fancies.
Silicon Valley executive and best-selling author, Randi Zuckerberg claims that “the only way out is through,” believing that creativity and writing are like exercising. Zuckerberg advocates sitting down and writing at the same time every day, “even if what I write is nonsense.” Writing four to six hours a day, she finished her business book in less than a month.
Following along the same lines, web development platform GitHub’s Chris Wanstrath just starts writing. When he’s not feeling the spark, Wanstrath suggests just putting the proverbial pen to the paper. Just write something. Anything, what you did in your day, for example. “Get your brain firing on those cylinders,” Wanstrath told Entrepreneur.com. “Or if you are writing code, just write something stupid to get started.”
Rally the troops – Talk it out
Sometimes it helps to brainstorm with other people. “Talking it out with my team,” works for Eventbrite’s Julie Hartz. Believing that if you hire great talent, you can count on your “greatest asset, and strongest resource” to solve your issue or come up with creative ideas.
In the world of “teas crafted for cocktails” when Owl’s Brew co-founder, Jenny Ripps struggles with a creative block, she likes to talk it out with her business partner, Marie Littlefield. As the two think differently, Ripps finds that Littlefield brings other perspectives to light and “the conversation gets me out of my own head,” Ripps said.
Connecting with different perspectives
Aaron Levie of cloud content platform, Box, plugs into a little classical music or Bob Dylan and a clean slate by way of a whiteboard or notepad to break through creative blocks. Brainstorming like a maniac, Levie gets his creative juices flowing by writing down every possible solution that he can think of, listing his ideas until he’s exhausted, or until he thinks he’s “to the point where I think I have the answer.”
Fashion blog company, RewardStyle’s Amber Venz goes to other people’s work to find creative inspiration. “Reading, Instagram, Pinterest, podcasts, TED talks,” she says, “I’m always finding something that resonates with me. DogVacay’s Aaron Hirschorn talks his way out of blocks. He recommends getting out of the office and hearing other perspectives. Hirschorn finds the answer to his creative blocks by talking to other CEOS, “about similar transformations in their company,” he said, “how they weighted the various options and decisions often helps me.”
“I expose myself to new ideas by reading and talking to people,” says Oliver Kharraz of ZocDoc, a healthcare professional directory. Besides reading history, religion, economics, and science-fiction to get through writer’s block, Kharraz talks to other people in other fields.
Go outdoors—Get physical
Wedding company Zola’s founder Shan-Lyn Ma suggests embracing the familiar for inspiration. Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Ma finds herself wanting to walk near water when staring down a difficult problem with a creative solution. Delivery on-demand company, Postmate’s founder, Bastian Lehmann gets out of the office, saying, “Do something you love, go outside, walk around.” Food 52’s, Merrill Stubbs believes in walking, swimming, and other physical exercise. Stubbs thinks it’s important to pay attention to your body and slow down your mind. “If I can get moving, the food and recipe sharing site founder said, “it frees up my head and makes some space.”
Nationwide floral company, BloomThat’s founder, David Bladow also thinks movement is the key to breaking through writer’s block. Bladow walks, filling up notebooks with ideas. “All it takes is a fragment of an idea to get your brain going again.” Brit+ Co’s founder, Brit Morin relies on what she calls inspiration research to help her come up with ideas. Sometimes I go outdoors into nature, and sometimes I’ll just go shopping to see if I can spot products that spark an idea.”
Sparking an idea is what Melissa Ben-Ishay does when she steps away from Baked by Melissa, her NYC cupcake company. Going out to dinner, Ishay may get inspiration from “flavors that inspire me to think differently about my dessert flavors.”
Fitness company, Pure Barre’s founder, Carrie Dorr also believes in getting outside to insulate herself against creative blocks. Dorr gets outside, with headphones on and heads for “a trail or mountain nearby.”
Changing it up
BaubleBar’s Daniella Yacobovsky clears her head by changing locations. The NYC jewelry company founder “thinks the key is giving yourself space to think.” She says when we get stuck sitting and focusing on a problem, we get tunnel vision making it hard to “think big picture.”
Tim Chen supports the idea of stopping and reading a book. NerdWallet’s founder taps into another part of his brain that helps him think about his problem. Then there’s payroll resource company, Gusto’s founder Josh Reeves who suggests a change of scene to entrepreneurs, trying to come up with innovative ideas. In lieu of locking themselves in a room, he encourages them to be around your potential customer, see something different and get enough sleep. “We need something different to drive creativity.”
Like Josh Reeves, Dave Rusenko thinks it helpful to change his physical location.
Weebly’s founder says it might just be a different spot in his office that helps him “get some thinking done.” San-Fransisco mattress company, Casper’s Jeff Chapin doesn’t think sitting at a desk is conducive to creativity. Chapin believes you have to create the right environment to get through blocks.
Venture X Naples’ space, a place where boutique hotel meets contemporary office space, with design in mind, our professional and welcoming facility features many different types of spaces to help you through writer’s block – no matter how you approach it. We offer a variety of work space options from shared desks to private offices, where you can power through your writer’s block. Dedicated desks at Venture X Naples provide the privacy you need when you want to talk through your creative block and work on projects in a semi-private environment. With common areas and a café, your team can brainstorm and take breaks when needed. One of the most exciting elements that makes Venture X Naples a popular place to work revolves around the collaborative community atmosphere; you can walk out of your private office and talk to professionals from different industries that may lead to a new perspective or idea to help inspire you. Located in the happening and fashionable heart of Naples, Venture X Naples is just a few minutes away from fun, unique and exciting dining and shopping venues and five minutes from Naples popular beaches. Our upscale loft facility also features an outdoor patio for a change of scenery to catch a whiff of an idea. For further inspiration, we feature weekly events that focus on social, educational and entrepreneurial themes.
At Venture X Naples, our shared office work environment functionas an active hub for like-minded professionals. You can find inspiration and collaboration among peers and from unexpected scenarios you never thought to try. Join us at Venture X Naples: the organic remedy for writer’s block.