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How To Deal With Creative Block As A Developer

How To Deal With Creative Block As A Developer

Quick Tips To Get Creatively Unstuck

Domenico Labaki's photo
Domenico Labaki
·Jan 28, 2022·

3 min read


Feeling creatively stuck is pretty common for developers of all kinds. It's like your entire imagination suddenly got locked behind a door you can't find the single key to. Quite frustrating, isn’t it?

Having dealt with this issue multiple times in the past, I’ll be sharing a few helpful tips I’ve learned along the way to unlock your creative mind.

While this article provides advice mainly from a game developer’s point of view, it is still relevant to all other types of development or creative work.

I hope at least one of these tips will help you!

1 - Know When To Stop Pushing Yourself

So you’re trying to come up with an idea for a product under the pressure of an annoyingly short deadline. However, you ran out of that precious creative juice just at the wrong time. Unlike what you may think, locking yourself in a room until you miraculously squeeze out a genius concept is most probably setting yourself up for failure.

It’s important to know when to stop, take a step back and move on to something else. Distracting your brain with another task can be more beneficial than it first seems. Although it might feel like a waste of time, be patient. Your idea will come up at the least expected time. Anything is better than burning yourself out!

2 - Look for inspiration

Sometimes sidetracking yourself with anything can help relieve the pressure from your brain for it to work more effectively. Nevertheless, you can still give it a small push by looking for sources of inspirations. Whether it's nature, books, music, paintings, video games, real-life tasks/problems, ... or whatever gets you inspired. You might find something interesting you can build upon, and get that satisfying "aha moment".

3 - Limitation breeds creativity

While I consider programming a science, I also believe software development is an art. The art of designing concepts and crafting experiences that translate certain intentions and sometimes contribute to our daily lives.

Which brings us to this quote:

'The enemy of art is the absence of limitation' - Orson Welles

In fact, adding limitations for yourself is one of the best things you can do to create something original.

You could try technical limitations like a specific language, framework, library, ...

Or you could try something a bit more interesting. Take for example limiting the controls for a video game.

More Tips From Twitter

Check out this thread for tips from other devs!


This marks the end of this short article. While this advice might not work for everyone, I hope you learned something helpful.

Please do leave your own tips in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter to stay updated on my developer journey!