It’s probably been written about a million times before. Its the crux of every single creatives life I know. It’s so important to nourish, yet so often forgotten about or ignore. I’m talking about creativity. We all have it within us. Its what we choose to do with it that’s important though.
Creativity is like a muscle. Keep exercising it and it will get stronger – Makes sense right?! After all, we all (me the least at the moment!) go to the gym or do some form of exercise to keep our body’s in top condition. We eat healthy food to fuel our body’s so that we can do the exercises that keep us in good health. It’s just the same with creativity. We need to practice our skills, develop and refine our craft consistently so that we can reach the level of expertise that we want. Think of it this way. You wouldn’t enter an Olympic competition without having first put in months if not years of practice. The same goes for graphic design and illustraion. But what happens when you just have nothing left to give mentally or physically.
Life isn’t linear. It throws us curve balls constantly. So for those of us who are in the creative industries, where our livelihood is reliant on our ideas and inspiration, making sure we keep our “creative bank” topped up is so very important. There are many ways to stay inspired. But one of the ones that is most overlooked is rest. I don’t mean the early to bed early to rise type of rest. I mean actually stepping away from the computer/pen & paper and actually going out and doing something completely different. Take me for example; I woke up this morning, not feeling 100% as I do most mornings because of my fibro. I spent a couple of hours working away on some client work, but really wasn’t feeling it. But I pushed through and got the bulk of what I wanted to do, done. I then did something I don’t always do but should do more often. I took my dog to the beach. Such a simple thing to do. But it made all the difference. so in light of all of this, here are my top 10 things to do to stay inspired or get the spark back!!
- Get away from your work area – Especially if you work from home as I do. Having a break will give you time to breathe and think about things from a different angle.
- Schedule regular exercise – even if its just a short walk, a yoga session in your front room, exercising is scientifically proven to help release endorphins – AKA the happy hormone!!
- Use a planner – I’m a stationery addict, and I love a good planning session. I currently use an A5 Filofax Malden to plan 90% of my work. The rest goes into a black notebook I have specifically for design projects.
- Watch some inspirational videos or listen to your favourite podcasts! – “cheese factor alert” I do love a good motivational video on youtube. The ones where you have someone speaking in a very compelling tone and giving a right good old speech about working harder than your competition.
- Spend time with family – quite often, a good old fashioned family day will help bring my mind back to focus about what’s really important in life, and the reasons why I work so hard at building this little empire of mine – I have three little people watching me and taking inspiration from me!! (#nopressure!)
- Plan a weekend getaway – I recently had 3 glorious days in London with my husband for our 6th wedding anniversary. We went to watch the Smashing Pumpkins, visited an old friend and ate way too much pizza!
- Refresh your music playlist – I’m a big music lover and have had Spotify for many years – but quite often, I can get bored with the same old music every day. So this is a simple one; play some different music!! I’ll link my Spotify profile for you in case you wanted some music inspo!! Also, try the daily mixes. Ive discovered loads of bands that I wouldnt have thought to listen to.
- Talk – Go out and talk to people. In a socially acceptable manner of course. I doubt many would appreciate a random person coming up to them in the street and kicking off a convo about how the world is going to end… What I mean is, go and see your friends, pop in for a coffee and a chat. See how other people are doing. Connect with them. I have a few friends who run businesses locally to me – but they are on their own (think barber, tattoo artist) So I go and visit them as often as I can. Of course, they have their clients throughout the day, but having a friend pop in to see you is just lovely!
- Stay focused and organised – I have a whiteboard above my desk which I use to write down big goals, like projects I’m working on, Ideas I want to pursue and inspirational quotes.
- Treat yourself!! – This is obviously budget dependent, but I find buying a magazine and some chocolate really helps when Im feeling low and stuck in a rut. My current favourite magazines are The Computer Arts Magazine and In The Moment Magazine Both of these titles are like chicken soup for my soul!
So there you have my top ten ways to stay inspired. Your main takeaway from this should be – Don’t beat yourself up if the ideas don’t come pouring out like a tap, or you feel like you’re a shitty designer. Everyone goes through it. And we all come out the other side with bigger and better ideas. The key is to work through it, acknowledge it and learn from it.
Id love to know how you stay inspired. What do you do when that designer doubt creeps in and everything feels so bleak and boring?
Lots of Love