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Breaking Down the Creative Block – Inspiration Help with Hailey Hofer

Breaking Down the Creative Block

As creatives, we’re known as being instinctively curious. But what happens when you stumble into the dreaded creative block?

It’s first important to note that almost EVERYONE deals with it. While it’s hard to not feel guilty when you don’t have new material to post on Instagram, often times we don’t realize that others are experiencing the same.

In my photojournalism capstone class at Mizzou, we took a lot of time in the midst of our crazy final semester to talk about creativity and the inevitable block that we face all too often.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott, was one of the books we read during our time together. It soon became a primary source of reference when speaking about our process as photographers, and how to break through a creative block. While this book is in the perspective as a writer, it is easy to replace *photography with *writing.  

“One of the gifts of being a [photographer] is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that [photography] motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.” – Anne Lammott

Whether it comes to writing or photography, the message is the same. These mediums push us to go out into the world and delve deeper. From a photojournalist standpoint, this idea forces me to revisit subjects and topics I find interesting to find a different narrative, edit differently and to shoot better.

When I’m in a rut, I find myself:

  • Making lists 
  • Drafting shoots in my head
  • Tearing out pages of magazines and pinning them up on my walls
  • Scrolling endlessly through pinterest and making inspiration boards
  • And ultimately, just pushing myself to shoot.

Sometimes this is a grueling process. And in those times, I choose to give myself a break and let myself be inspired by others. It’s crucial to see how others see the world; how they approach shoots and what they get out of it.

Creative blocks are a pain, but can lead to moments of greatness.

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