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9 Types of Creative Block

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Creative block is a period of time when the creative output of an individual or team falls to low levels. Unlike regular tasks such as cleaning a basement, creativity tends to have great peaks and valleys of productivity. The following are common types of creative block.

Open Problem Space

Trying to solve an open-ended problem such as "I want to do something great." Experimenting with constraints on a problem space can help overcome creative block.

Closed Solution Space

Making assumptions about a work product too early as opposed to beginning with a completely open process of generating a large number of ideas.


Patterns of overthinking such as being far too abstract or analytical.


Insufficient time spent in a state of flow where you just let unfiltered ideas come out without distraction or evaluation.


Some creative professionals have a process that they find productive. When creative block occurs, it may be helpful to drop process, try a new process or perform steps out of order.

Lack of Experimentation

Seeking the "correct" solution as opposed to quick experiments that are allowed to fail.

Faking It

Creativity requires the bravery to produce something original that may be criticized. The temptation exists to copy something successful to avoid being "wrong." Seeking inspiration in other creative works is essential. Copying motivated by a fear of being wrong is a demotivating and unproductive process.


A general lack of enthusiasm, ambition or resilience. Creativity tends to generate motivation in a virtuous cycle. As such, it can be a mistake to give up because you're not feeling motivated. A small bit of creativity may spark motivation leading to more creativity.

Being Boring

Viewing creativity as a burden or routine as opposed to an adventure.
Overview: Creative Block
A period of time when the creative output of an individual or team falls to low levels.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about creativity.
Creative Ability
Creative Class
Creative Direction
Creative Economy
Creative Expression
Creative Feedback
Creative Hobbies
Creative Industries
Creative Intuition
Creative Leadership
Creative Process
Creative Productivity
Creative Quality
Creative Spark
Creative Tension
Creative Things
Creative Thinking
Creative Value
Creative Works
Creativity Theory
Divergent Thinking
Idea Generation
Intellectual Diversity
Inventive Step
Magical Thinking
Metaphysical Conceit
Motley Crew
Preserving Ambiguity
Reverse Brainstorming
Thought Experiment
Work Creativity
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