I have often wondered about the concept of creative block. I find it fascinating how it affects people in a variety of different ways.
We have all experienced creative block at one point our another, during our creative processes and when it happens to me, I often find myself thinking about how it manifested itself in the first place.
It is self inflicted? Do we get to the point where we subconsciously prevent ourselves from producing new ideas? Or is it something else?! Perhaps our own brains, telling us to stop and think about the current creative direction we’re taking.Robert Downey Jr. in the motion picture Sherlock Holmes
You’re probably wondering how Sherlock Holmes relates to all of this.
Well, about a year ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about creative block. I remember suggesting to him that he use a concept that, at the time, had recently occurred to me. The Sherlock Holmes method of thinking.
For those of you that are not familiar with Scotland Yard’s unorthodox detective. Sherlock Holmes is a fictional London-based detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle and first appeared in publication in 1887.
Holmes is gifted with an extraordinary mind and is arguably most famous for glancing over a person that he’s just been introduced to and immediately understanding their interests, habits, and lifestyle in a matter of moments.
But what fascinates me the most about Holmes, is his ability to solve cases in the most innovative ways. Especially when he is faced with a mental block, due to a difficult case.
When a case isn’t going the way he would’ve hoped, he usually embarks on an array of different activities to shift his mindset and thought process into a new perspective. This is done in an attempt to surpass his mental block and solve the case that’s inconveniencing him.
Dr. Watson, Sherlock’s friend, assistant and to his dismay, flatmate, often finds Sherlock’s methods of distracting his own mind extremely disruptive and occasionally dangerous.
Holmes is known for having a very complex personality and in the various stories I’ve experienced, he has tried many questionable experiments, in order to shift his thought process – and many of these activities are often carried out at the same time.
To name a few: testing homemade drugs on their pet dog, playing classical music on the violin to bare-knuckle fighting. Experimenting with human body parts and keeping them in the fridge and even taking narcotics himself.
Thankfully, the Sherlock Holmes Method that I suggested to my friend didn’t include any of the above. The concept that came to my mind more relates to the principle that Holmes uses to take himself away from the case at hand and shift his mindset.
The next time you experience creative block, do something else to take your mind away from your process.
Listen to some classical music or a favorite track that you haven’t listened to in five years. Walk your pet dog or go for a run. Cook something you’ve never cooked before for your friends or partner.
Read a couple of chapters of a book (backwards), play chess against yourself (and try to win!) Go into a quiet room, close your eye and meditate for ten plus minutes. Watch a documentary about something complete unrelated.
Walk into a cafe or pub and order something that you wouldn’t usually order. Read a few Chinese proverbs and give them some thought. Play an instrument (no matter how skilled you are). Find your favorite App on whatever app store and write a positive review (they’ll appreciate it).
You know when you can’t remember something and you tell yourself not to think about it and it’ll come to you. The Sherlock Holmes Method uses that very some principle and it does work, because your mind is still working on the problem in hand, whilst you’re busy doing other things.
There’s no time scale for this method because everyone is different. But if you take yourself away from the process that your stuck on and immerse yourself in another activity. You’re more likely to change your perspective and come up with new solutions. Give it a try :)
What are your methods for beating creative block?___________________________________________________________________________ Follow Davis Dna Designs on Twitter or subscribe to new posts via RSS.