Breaking Through Mental Blocks

By Posted in - Professional Development & Public Relations on February 25th, 2019

Those who work in a creative field know the feeling — that hopeless frustration of staring at a blank Word document or design canvas … and nothing comes. 

You’ve turned the canvas upside down. Swiveled in your chair. Worn a path to the coffee pot. Secretly played a few minutes of Fortnight. 

And the inspiration is still somewhere in the Bahamas … without you.

In PR, part of our special sauce is the zany ideas that add a head-turning twist, the out-of-the-box solution that catches the attention of reporters and propels customers into action. So we’ve run into our fair share of mental blocks during the creative process.

We’d like to proffer a few favorite tips for sidestepping the brain freeze and jumpstarting your mojo again.

Get a Move on It.

It’s surprising how a brisk stroll (or an impromptu dance-off in the Clairemont Kitchen) can rejuvenate the brain. One of us has been know to run laps up the stairs while another one uses the time to jaunt over to Morning Times for a touch of caffeine/parfait/whatever is in the pastry case. Fresh air and movement can do wonders.

Crack a Book. Or a Stellar Blog.

When words are … just … not … there (see how I did that?), feed your brain with fresh input. Prime the pump with another author’s vocabulary, style and turn of phrases. The meatier, the better. We love to flip open a copy of Garden & Gun (editor CJ Lotz has some incredible pieces) or the Wall Street Journal. (Jason Gay’s sports commentaries provide insightful accounts peppered with hilarity — even for the non-sports fan, such as myself.)

Insert Off-topic Ideas.

In a similar vein, completely abandon the current task at hand to concentrate on an unrelated topic. The brain is programmed to create and follow patterns (And thank goodness. Can you imagine relearning how to drive every time you cranked the key? No. Just no. ), so a break in routine can allow for a new point of view. Pop over to Ted on YouTube, for example, and watch the first video that catches your eye.

Change Your Environment.

Photo courtesy of Vita Vite

Forbes highlights the positive impact that a change of scenery and travel — even domestic travel — can have on the creative psyche. While you may not have the leeway for a long weekend escape, a shift in your immediate environment can interrupt your mental cycle. Pack up and move to a coffee shop. Work from a park. Find a wine bar patio (like our beloved client Vita Vite) that offers fresh vistas and new interactions to spark thoughts.

Crank the Tunes.  

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”


Forbes backed Plato’s maxim when it unveiled that listening to happy music may boost your creativity. Medical Daily even went so far as to suggest a few classical pieces. Music’s dichotomous blend of structure and expression targets both parts of the brain, often with an almost magical effect. Pop in some earbuds, take a walk, turn it on in the office, get up and dance. (Again, Clairemont loves us some dance parties. Care to join?)

Need a little more “oomph”? Check out Dana’s tips for encouraging creativity.



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