HELP! I have brain freeze.

We all know the feeling. The pounding that starts slow and then wham has you wincing in momentary pain. I’ve read that pressing your tongue or thumb to the roof of your mouth helps quell the throbbing. For me, squeezing my eyes shut and saying a few choice words seems to do the trick.

This feeling is not unlike that when faced with a creative brain freeze. You know the kind. You’re faced with a writing task and the words just won’t come out or need to develop an innovative business plan and zip, zilch, nada. The blank canvas of white is just sitting there on your computer screen, almost taunting you – no daring you – to put something on it.

So what do you do when you have brain freeze?

I polled my friends on Twitter and Facebook and here is what they do:

1.) Just start. Or as Nike used to say, “Just Do It!” Put anything on the page – words, fonts, images, etc. Often it is just getting started that is the hardest part. Then one step leads to the next and before you know it, you are done!

2.) Go outside. The great Leonardo da Vinci would go outside with his charcoal and a sketch pad. So get away from your desk. Surrounding yourself with different scenery can be very inspirational. Look for colors, patterns, unexpected objects in the world around you. Take pictures. Take a deep breath. Take notes. Sketch.

3.) Music. This was a popular answer. Music can either get you pumped up or calm you down – you might need some of both. Pandora and Blip.fm are both great for listening to a variety of music either by artist or genre.

4.) Go somewhere else. Find your favorite coffee shop, book shop, library, or anyplace that you feel you can hunker down in. Getting away from the distractions at your home or work office can be amazingly freeing.

Here are some of my ideas:

1.) Grab a friend. Either via phone or in person, brainstorming with a friend is a sure-fire method to break that rut. My former co-worker and I used to go on smoothie runs when we needed out of the office. A quick 20 minute round trip car ride was just the trick for us to solve the problem we were tackling.

2.) Read a book or magazine. I’m not talking Beowulf here. Pick up something fun to read – lots of colors, pictures, fun and entertaining. Magazines and blog sites are perfect for this.  For me, I love to cook and craft. My mailbox is always filled with Cooking Light, Eating Well, Family Fun – boring to some, but nirvana for me. I also LOVE the blog site The Perfect Palette. I am not a wedding planner (though might secretly want to be one) and am already married, but this site is a gold mine for color combinations and inspiration. Go find yours!

3.) Exercise. I hear ya…I am not its biggest fan either and it sounds so cliche. But after I finally get my butt out of the chair and do a yoga video, go for a run or hop on my bike, I always feel better. And I usually figure out a solution to what was troubling me.

4.) Community. Find something that you are passionate about and see how you can use your skills to help them. It can be very inspirational and gratifying to help somebody else without the pressure associated with *having* to be creative for a client or project. Give to your community and it will give back! My last post on creating a community relations plan has some great ideas of where to look for projects that need YOU.

5.) Think like a child. Children’s minds are free. They do not worry about what is expected or how they will be perceived. Find a swing set. Go down a slide. Stand on your head. Giggle!

So those are just a few ideas that I hope you find useful. I would love to hear what you do! Was it listed above? Do you have other ideas? The comments section is just waiting for you.

Photo has some rights reserved by Avelino Maestas

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