We’ve all been there. It has been a long day of staring at your computer screen, working on items for clients, and regardless of how hard you try, the day seems rather lackluster. You don’t feel creative, but rather are just meeting the next deadline, trying your best to meet the needs of your clients. You’ve browsed Pinterest a few times, have created moodboards, but nothing you’re coming up with feels fresh or creative. Rather it seems that your design work admires (and maybe too closely mirrors) the work of someone else. What do you do when your creativity has lost it’s spark? How do you stay inspired? Whether it’s writers block or not having creative design solutions, finding you have nothing to blog about, or realizing you’ve done fashion shoots in the same color scheme for 2 months (guilty on this one), know that some fresh inspiration, innovation, and ideas are on their way as you follow these tips and tricks.
There’s something about going analog for a day or so. When I back away from my screen, I’m freed up both mentally and physically. I find that I’m not worried about checking stats, optimizing SEO, keeping all my social media channels updated, or discovering what others are doing on their Instagram feeds. Instead, I find I create with far less restraint and create what is true to me. When I go analog, I find I can create outside, in spaces that feel free to me, and discover beauty in new and simple ways. I go to the flower market and discover a fresh spring bloom, take my sketchbook and pens and create until I decide things are done. Sometimes these things turn into projects down the line, but sometimes they are just for me and that is perfectly fine. I also learn that when I back away from my screen, I find the beauty in life and human connection far more. There’s something about authentic face-to-face connection that will never be replaced by online communities. When I free myself to connect with others, without phones or the need to Instagram what is going on, I find myself in the midst of connectedness, love, and authenticity that my heart needs. Not only for my relationships and emotional health, but it provides my heart the security to push creative boundaries and put myself out there in a greater capacity when I do return to my desk.
As a student, art class was my favorite. I can’t tell you how many hours I would spend with my paints, pastels, and canvases just creating piece after piece. Some of my favorite images on Pinterest are of artists and makers studios. There’s something about walking into a space where the spirit and freedom of creativity flourishes. As someone who creates for a living, I often forget to still spend time creating for the sake of joy and rest. While I may not financially profit from it, there is still incredible value in taking this time and making something with my hands. Maybe for you this means making a gourmet dish in the kitchen, planting in the garden, or whittling wood around a campfire. This is just for you, no large audiences needed.
When you work from home and don’t have a designated office space, it is can be incredibly hard to stay focused and content in your surroundings. There are days where I would rather do anything other than work. Cleaning and organizing the house even sounds more appealing. I find that some time spent in a space other than my desk or kitchen table is needed. Sometimes I go to certain spots overlooking mountains to do my sketches, head to a coffee shop to just be around larger groups of people, or head to a bookstore or library to gather new ideas or learn something new.
In larger markets, this is one that can be a challenge. Find other creatives to meet up with. Inventiveness and the exchange of different ideas are always exciting and can help you look for new solutions. By building creative community that is collaborative rather than competitive, you will find encouraging feedback, find others to provide valuable critique and feedback, and grow in your craft. As a creative, I know this one can be hard. There are moments where I’ve been burnt pretty badly by some other creatives. However, I’ve also found some incredible people that I consider friends and really value what they have to say. In these environments, know that initially it can be intimidating. Sometimes you are in the same room as someone with a big firm behind them, a huge blog following, and have corporations backing their content. You’re the small guy on the totem pole in this moment. Remember the power of what you carry and the perspective you have. Relate to people from who you are and your point of view. This is refreshing in networking moments and provides people with what they are truly desiring, connection.
What are some of the ways you stay inspired?