A topic that crops up often on Instagram is how to break out of a creative block.
As a designer and illustrator working within the creative industry but it's tricky to stay inspired all of the time. When it comes to plewsy the amount of time I get to be creative within the business is so low. As I mentioned in a recent blog post 7 Tips for Starting a Creative Business, the amount of hats you wear as a creative entrepreneur is crazy, meaning for me creative time is sadly pretty limited.
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” — Stephen King
So I guess what I am trying to say is, when I need to be creative and full to the brim of ideas, sometimes there is just nothing there. Nada. Zilch. Getting ideas down on paper for a new collection, storming concepts for an effective direct mailer or pulling ideas out of the bag for a web design - each different in their own way but all need some fresh inspiration.
So here are my five top tips on how to break out of a creative block!
1. Get some fresh air
I'm lucky to have Noddy our curly cockapoo, so I drag him out into the countryside and inhale some of the fresh Yorkshire air. Just taking time out often leads me to subconsciously think about what I need to do and often will spark one idea that when I get home, leads to lots of others. You could run, hike or cycle!
2. Read books
Visit a bookshop, flick through the pages, feel the textures and smell the paper stock! I'm a massive lover of books, so I have shelves full at home to flick through. My go to ones for ideas and concepts are usually the D&AD annuals or inspirational words such as the John Hegarty series. Also - step away from your screens!
Similar to point one I guess, people have suggested swimming, yoga, pilates or hitting the gym. It's all about finding what makes you tick and something that you can do to let off steam, regroup and refigure. When I'm not 37 weeks pregnant I love to run, run, run!
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield
Clearing my mind is a really effective tool for me to start the day with a positive outlook. I subscribe to Headspace and try to most days spend a tiny snippet of my day clearing my head using their bite-sized guided meditations. If I can let go of negative thoughts and take a few minutes to breathe I find this helps me with the millions of tasks that lay ahead.
5. Don't discard 'bad ideas'
One of the best pieces of advice I had when working as a graphic designer was to not discard what I thought was a bad idea - letting self doubt creep in or quickly decide that an idea is not good enough. Often somebody else will see something great in an idea you thought was bad or later that day you might spot a nugget of an idea within an idea! Get everything down on paper and review all of your concepts a few hours or days later, time is a great tool - you will probably find something you were going to throw away was your best design to date!
Ideas will flow once again and you will return to being inspired! Sometimes though it could take a few hours or a week to get back your creativity, the longer it lasts the more panicked you become but stay calm and it will hit you when you least expect it to. I promise!
It would be lovely to hear how you deal with a creative block...