Perhaps the most undervalued when you have it, yet coveted gift when it’s gone is creativity. Never appreciated when it showers us with genius, but the moment it’s gone, we realize our vulnerability. Nothing is right, everything sucks, and creativity feels like she’s going to be on holiday for the rest of eternity. Eventually, most of us emerge from the dark caverns of nothingness, but not without a few cuts and bruises along the way. In this #ProContent Podcast, experts Britt Skrabanek, Brian Opsal and Melody Valdez dive into overcoming creative ruts: how to potentially avoid them and what to do when they rear their ugly head.

Below are a few highlights from the episode, and in this full #ProContent episode you will learn:

  • How to avoid creative ruts – when possible
  • Tricks from pros on how to navigate creative blocks
  • Tools to bring out when things get really desperate

Overcoming Creative Rut

Highlights from our guests

Britt Skrabanek, Co-Founder at Superneat Marketing,  @BrittSkrabanek:

  • I think the creative mind is far from invincible. I also think that hitting a wall is an important part of the creative process, because it reminds us how incredible and vulnerable creating something really is. It’s really important to take care of you and your creative mind.
  • It’s a very special thing to be able to create, so be protective over that gift. Don’t overwork yourself. If you do, let go for a while to recharge the batteries, and whatever that means for you. Your work is going to be better if you take the time to live away from it.
  • Taking breaks away from the screen is so important. In the afternoon, I might do a five or ten minute meditation, or  go for a hike. For longer breaks, travel is pretty crucial for my survival and inspiration.
  • A method I use to cure creative block is learning. I’ve been getting into podcasts because I get pretty tired of looking at content all the time, so this way I can listen, instead of staring at a screen.
  • You can’t be in a bad place when you’re trying to be creative, if you’re feeling negative, or if you have a lot of distractions too.


Brian Opsal, Chief Marketing Officer at ThinkWarwick:

  • I think if you’re getting in creative ruts and you’ve been there before, you have to just believe in yourself, believe in your team, and understand it will come. The fear of not succeeding is what’s going to make you not succeed. If you’ve had that experience, you come out of it with something better than you ever expected.
  • I often call it a forced epiphany in a sense. It’s just get something down, whether it’s right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter, but just start the creative juices flowing.
  • There’s definitely time in every project where you sort of hit a little bit of a wall that forces you to change gears a little bit and think of things in a different way than the path you’re going down.
  • I think the nice thing about having freelancers at your disposal is that whether it’s writing or design, each creative has their style. If you have a client that has a specific style, it’s easier. A lot of times your internal people may not write that way, or design that way.

Melody Valdez, Senior Content Strategist at ClearVoice, @MelodiaValdez:

  • I start off every project with ideation. I do that because I know that eventually I am going to hit that creative rut and I can go back to that original brainstorm list of ideas.
  • My favorite thing, as simple as it sounds, is a whiteboard. I feel like I could solve a lot of world problems with a marker and a whiteboard. It really helps me to see everything laid out, sometimes a piece of paper just doesn’t cut it.”
  • A method to really get the juice flowing is to sit down and really imagine that I am that particular person, the ideal customer, the ideal prospect. I make them into a real human being. I give them an age, I give them a name, I say, this is their education. This is what their hobbies are.
  • I highly recommend working meetings. It really takes the pressure off of you as an individual, because you’re not alone. If you work on a team, you have each other, and the deadlines become much more manageable when you work together.
  • When you are writing, you have a million thoughts and sometimes it gets really hard to shuffle it and put it all into a logical order. I find that taking a nap in the middle of it all really helps you wake up and feel refreshed, and then look at it with a new set of eyes.