Beat creative blocks by coworking

Jun 29, 2021

As vaccination rates rise and states start to ease up their COVID-19 restrictions, you may be looking for a reason to get out of the house. In addition to the thrill of finally working somewhere other than your couch, coworking spaces can provide a number of unexpected benefits.

Coworking spaces include the amenities needed to facilitate productive work. In a study by researcher Steve King, it was found that:

●  82% of freelancers using a coworking space reported that they have been able to expand their social network.

●  More than half (54%) of freelancers in these coworking spaces hang out with these fellow freelancers after work and on weekends.

●  64% of freelancers also claimed that their coworking space network is a source of generating new referrals, new jobs, and chances to explore new opportunities.

While many recent publications have touted the flexibility of remote work and focus on the benefits that can be drawn from working remotely, working in isolation also comes with some serious drawbacks, includes stumbling over creative blocks and struggling through loneliness. Loneliness can be as much a health problem as it is a social disaster. How so? Well, the former United States Surgeon General asserted that loneliness is associated with a reduction in lifespan. Terming it the “loneliness epidemic,” he added that this isolation has a greater effect on our lifespan than health concerns, such as obesity.

According to a study at the Donald R. Tapia College of Business, the isolation, loneliness, and common distractions associated with remote working are the primary cause of creative blocks that many freelance creatives struggle with.

Whether you’re using a coworking space for its social benefits, business/career impact, or both, your ability to get creative work done regularly as a freelance creative is imperative. A study from the University of Michigan supports the idea that freelancers using coworking spaces experience a higher sense of community through their interactions in the common coworking space. In addition, proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences prove this type of working environment critically affects the ability of “high creative individuals to generate innovative ideas.”

Types of creative blocks

Most publishers have classified creative blocks based on their cause. There are three main types of creative blocks:

The mental block

Sometimes, our minds become so broad that we are trapped in our thoughts, finding no escape. Usually, socializing and distracting yourself from those crushing thoughts can help you jump back on track.

Emotional barrier

Our emotions have a powerful effect on our productivity and creativity. Too excited or angry and creativity will take a corner seat in your head. Fear is another emotion that cripples creativity in writers. Most freelance writers, like many other creatives, think of themselves as perfectionists. As such, the fear of imperfection sends them down a spiral that precipitates procrastination and creative block.

Communication breakdown

This is another type of creative block with both internal and external possible causes. Whether you’re part of a remote creative team, writing for the marketing department of a startup 100 latitudinal lines away, ineffective communication of ideas between client and freelancer can cause a creative block. Writers might find themselves wondering what exactly clients want or how they want it.

Internally, miscommunicating a creative task to yourself can cause blocks as well. Setting unrealistic deadlines and convincing yourself that you can meet it can leave you in free fall as the deadline creeps closer. So, ensuring that communication within yourself and with clients is free-flowing and expectations are realistic and clear.

The difference between creative block and incubation

Creative blocks happen for several reasons. According to the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, stress, unhappiness, and pressure could lead to creative blocks. Also, sometimes we are swamped with ideas and wondering which to pursue. When this happens, we are blocked from creativity as well.

However, there is the incubation of creativity which is often mistaken for a creative block. The creative process takes time. An idea is conceived and then formed. This process can be slower than expected, depending on the complexity of the idea. Then, the cultivation and bloom of the idea follow. At this stage, writers become fluid, they get “in the zone.”

How can using a coworking space help you eliminate creative blocks?

Using a coworking space can help reduce creative blocks and fasten creative incubation. The unique qualities of coworking spaces ensure these.

Flexibility

With flexibility comes the freedom to create. The freedom to lay back on a chaise lounge with your laptop in hand and your mind well-rested can open the floodgates of creativity.

Reduced pressure

In a traditional workplace, office politics and hypocrisy dampen creativity. Not having a boss looking over your shoulder in a cubicle is just the right amount of freedom needed to become more productive.

As a freelancer, while no boss is looking over your shoulder, the pressure from household chores and other non-business tasks can be equally overwhelming.

Reduce loneliness

The loneliness that comes with working from home can be depressing. Our minds tend to drift when we are alone. We worry about things and our thoughts take a life of their own and hinder our ability to create. The mind is a powerful weapon for either self-destruction or brilliant achievements. We either keep it busy or it does so to us. When using a coworking space, we focus more on doing work than on our wandering thoughts.

Better use of time

Working from home, time creeps away without us noticing it. When we realize how much time we’ve wasted, well, procrastinating, a feeling of self-contempt envelops us. Unhappiness, especially towards self, is a major cause of the creative block.

Joining a coworking space can help you make better use of your time. When time is well spent, a sense of accomplishment is derived, and the motivation to do more is born.

With the loneliness epidemic sweeping life out of freelance writers, joining a coworking space can reduce creative blocks, expand their network, and improve productivity. Check in and enjoy creativity.

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Wesley Cherisien

Wesley Cherisien is a speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, and tech investor who has written articles, books, and training guides for Fortune 500 companies, consultants, and authors in multiple industries.