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7 Creative Tips for When You're in a Slump

7 Creative Tips for When You’re in a Slump

Take these slump-busting ideas for a spin! See which creative tips boost your brain power. 

Hard truth: Creative slumps affect just about everyone, regardless of role or job title. 

However, if you’re a marketer, creative blocks can tank your productivity, grinding your work or progress to a halt. Before writer’s block or creative slumps frustrate you or lead to imposter syndrome, know that you don’t have to let them win.

Instead of beating yourself up as you stare at a blank document, empty email, or seemingly lifeless LinkedIn “create-a-post” pop-up, there are several strategies you can employ to bust through a creative block and banish that blinking cursor.

Dive into our tips on how to be more creative below! Alternatively, you can gather inspiration from exploring Shutterstock’s gorgeous curated collections or experimenting with our AI image generator.

Grayscale gardening tools with narcissus plants in pots on white background
License this image via Pixel-Shot.

Creative Tip 1: Take a Break

Sometimes, the best way to break through a creative block is to stop trying to fight it. Stepping away from the problem is one of the best ways to get your subconscious mind working on your behalf. 

If you recognize that your brain is tapping out, it may be time to step away or shut things down for the day. Some of my favorite ways to take a break include:

  • Going for a short walk
  • Stepping into the garden
  • Sweating it out with a workout
  • Spending 10 minutes meditating
  • Grabbing a coffee 
Grayscale vintage telephone with receiver off the hook
License this image via Comaniciu Dan.

Creative Tip 2: Talk It Out

There’s a reason Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? offered a “phone a friend” lifeline. Simply hopping on the phone or Zoom with someone and workshopping the problem can give you a surprising amount of clarity. Sometimes the simple act of explaining what’s going on (or where you’re stuck) to someone else can deliver the inspiration you need. 

To that end, even if no one else is available, recording yourself talking it out can help you get unstuck. Pop open a Zoom or Google Meet window and hit record. Alternatively, you can record right into a transcription app like or Google Docs to convert what you’re saying into writing.

Whether you’re working alone or with a partner, talking it out is one of my favorite creative marketing tips. In addition to helping you figure out the story or find the perfect angle, it can also help you find holes in your strategy.

Grayscale open plastic safety scissors
License this image via macondo.

Creative Tip 3: Focus on Editing, Not Creating

It’s often easier to edit than to create from scratch. Whether you’re looking for creative video tips, creative photography tips, or creative writing tips, this one is for you.

If you’re writing content, set a timer for 5 minutes. Brain-dump your ideas onto a sheet of paper, then choose the one you can talk about most. Next, set another 5-minute timer to brain-dump everything you can think of related to that topic. From there, combine your ideas into “buckets” and edit your note into compelling content.

On the other hand, if you’re working on other types of marketing creative, like video or audio, instead of creating something new, go back to something you’ve done before that’s in the hopper and focus on editing it. Alternatively, you can gather tons of creative ideas by exploring curated collections, like these beautiful collections from Shutterstock.

Grayscale color palette template
Make this template your own via Shutterstock Templates.

Creative Tip 4: Use Templates and Prompts for Inspiration

Just like editing is easier than creating, templates and prompts can give you a starting point that sparks creativity.

Need creative writing tips as a marketer? Consider prompts like:

  • The best way to…
  • The top trends in my industry are…
  • The place where most people leave money on the table is…
  • I am an expert in…
  • The questions I answer most are…
  • People say I’m great at…
  • The thing that drives me nuts about my industry is…
  • I want to be known for…

If you’re searching for creative marketing tips and visual templates, consider hopping into a tool like Shutterstock’s Create. With hundreds of templates for special media, collateral, and branding, you can quickly find inspiration for your project.

Grayscale wooden toy blocks
License this image via Vladimir Prusakov.

Creative Tip 5: Make a Template

If you find yourself regularly working on similar projects, consider creating a template. In addition to saving time, you can use templates to hack your brain and ditch the blank screen curse once and for all.

Tools like Create make it easy to develop branded templates that simplify visual content. You can also create Google document templates for written content including press releases, media pitches, blog posts, emails, and even social media posts. 

Think of the common elements you might need and use them to create a document you can reuse. For example, you might need

  • A headline or subject line
  • A lead-in that speaks to the problem
  • An overview of the solution
  • CTA

From there, it’s all about filling in the blanks and stitching them together in a way that’s engaging and compelling. Using a template or framework like this doesn’t mean cookie-cutter content. Instead, it’s about ensuring you have the critical elements to create something compelling.

Grayscale open spiral notebook
License this image via Tibet Saisema.

Creative Tip 6: Keep a Running List of Ideas

Every time inspiration strikes, open your Notes app or a document that you can refer back to down the road. That way, you’ll always have ideas to turn to when you hit creative blocks.

Grayscale of white dining chairs around a dining table
License this image via Matveev Aleksandr.

Creative Tip 7: Join Co-Working Sessions

Sometimes having other people working alongside you, even on completely different tasks, is enough to help you focus on your project. Whether you go into an open conference room, join a physical co-working space, or find a virtual co-working community, don’t underestimate the power of collaboration.

Ready to Find Your Groove Again?

For better or worse, creative roadblocks are a reality. But, as you can see with the seven creative tips I shared, there are plenty of ways to power through and find your spark.

Riding out the highs and lows gets easier when you have strategies to bust through them . . . and the knowledge that you won’t be stuck forever. Keep your chin up, give these ideas a shot, and before you know it, you’ll be back on your game, setting the bar higher for everyone you inspire.

For additional inspiration, check out our resources below.

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