Over the years I’ve had to learn how to be creative ‘on demand’ which is not always an easy feat – burn-out is real peeps, and creative burn-out can be a serious problem for those whose incomes depend on it. So how do you maintain or re-ignite creativity when it’s lacking? There are tons of articles out there on the interwebs about this very topic but here are a few ideas that have worked for me….
TAKE A BREAK – exercise, play with your kids/pets, go for coffee with a friend – this might seem counter intuitive when it comes to that never-ending to-do list you have but for me it’s all about disconnecting, and then trying again when you feel that you have more focus/direction. It took me a very long time to allow myself to use this technique but more often than not, it works the fastest!
GET OFF YOUR COMPUTER! Write, colour in, doodle, journal – on actual paper, with real ink! This one works hand-in-hand with the point I make above – taking a break from your screen/keyboard and doing something physically creative without the overwhelm of the internet to distract you is a great way to kick start a creative project and get you in the zone. I used to always start my work off on screen, but a lot of the time now, I grab my notebook first and sketch out some ideas before I put them into action digitally…
READ – I love to read (and reread!) inspiring books by other creatives – things like How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone; Creative Inc by Meg Mateo Ilasco; or Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon and It’s not how good you are… by Paul Arden etc. These are often super inspiring and really get your creative juices flowing. (On my desk waiting to be started right now is Jonah Berger’s Contagious – why things catch on!)
HELP SOMEONE ELSE with a creative problem of their own – share thoughts, bounce ideas – the more you give away the more you will have, that is how creativity works. And doing something for someone else will full your cup and make you feel like a kiff person.
CONNECT WITH OTHER CREATIVES – seeing what is out there, what everyone else is doing, making contacts, deciding to collaborate etc – this is a great way to feed your creativity and to connect with other like-minded individuals who all probably face the same creative struggles that you do! I try to regularly interact with other creatives and not only have they become great freelance allies but often good friends.
EXPLORE OTHER CREATIVE TALENTS/ACTIVITIES/CRAFTS – you know that pottery class you have always wanted to take? DO IT! Start painting, join a creative writing workshop, get onto those DIY projects at home that have been waiting for your attention for weeks/months/years now! I don’t know how it works but the feeling of achievement through one form of creativity definitely carries over and reignites other forms!
CREATE AN INSPIRING WORKSPACE – this is super important for me. Not only does my workspace need to reflect my personal and creative vibes, but it has to be inspiring and organised so that I have everything I need to focus. It doesn’t need to be a huge space or an expensive makeover session, but put some thought into carving out a little place for yourself at home (or even at work if possible) that is filled with pictures/quotes/design and ‘organised stuff’ that appeals to your creative nature. My home office is decorated in colours that are a reflection of my visual branding (it was unintentional that they ended up the same but obviously meant to be!) I have a gallery wall filled with art and quotes that I love. I put my best work up to see and be reminded of my capabilities, all my stationery and gadgets have their place, and I generally just LOVE to be in this space of my own, where I now function so much more productively than I ever have before…
MAKE A CREATIVE BUCKET LIST – anything goes, no matter how crazy it sounds! My list includes skills I’d like to learn, hobbies I’d like to take up, inspiring creative places I would like to visit, the level I would like my creative business to reach, and a whole bunch of things I would like to try my hand at designing – a wine label for example – I’ve never done one before but would love to! Any of you know someone whose producing vino and may need a designer in the near future?! 😉
If you don’t throw it out there into the universe, it will never happen – give it a go!