24 May Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing
As a member of the creative team at LE&A, I find there are days when ideas bubble out of me like a fountain, I can’t seem to sketch them out fast enough. Other days, I stop and wonder “why did these guys hire me?! I’m not creative at all!”
Colleagues and friends will often say to me, “you’re creative, you’ll figure something out.” Yes … maybe. But there are those days where I feel like I am just lacking creativity, feeling a bit burnt out, and don’t know what direction to go with a project. I’m sure it has happened to you, so here are some ideas I’ve come up with to help keep the creative juices flowing.
1. Step away from the computer.
Einstein was known for being a daydreamer, he was always looking out the window during classes. Teachers didn’t peg him as a genius. When he was daydreaming, his brain was wandering and wondering. His most famous work, the theory of relativity, derived from a daydream where he imagined running beside a sunbeam to the edge of the universe. Take some time to disconnect from technology and allow yourself to daydream. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that come to mind.
2. Surround yourself with other creatives.
Have you ever noticed that many great literary writers, artists and musicians seem to have known each other and worked together? It’s not a coincidence. Even an artist like Vincent van Gogh who mainly worked in isolation throughout his career benefited from the work of others.
If all your work is done in isolation you have to reinvent the wheel over and over again. It’s helpful to bounce ideas off one another and build on one another’s suggestions. Time you spend with other creatives will teach you that everyone gets stuck at times and you’ll also gain inspiration from seeing and hearing about their work .
3. Carry a notebook with you, always.
If you haven’t noticed, ideas don’t always show up according to our schedule. If you’re going to consistently come up with ideas to write about or do something with, you have to be able to capture them regardless of when they show up. Even doodles can turn into artwork.
4. Listen to a different genre of music.
When I’m in my “have to be productive” mode, I crank up the classical music. No joke. It’s not something I listen to every day by any means, but it creates a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere that allows me to destress and focus on my to-do list. It’s something outside my daily Spotify playlist.
The key is finding the right kind of music to stimulate creativity. If you’re working on a project that’s elegant and beautiful, you might listen to something like jazz or classical. But if you’re designing an in-your-face project, you might want some classic rock or heavy metal. Pick a genre of music that’s not your go-to and that sets the mood for your project. After all, you wouldn’t go to the gym and work out to a lullaby, would you?
5. Organize your workspace.
I know…creativity and organization together in the same sentence probably seems like an oxymoron. But I promise that an organized creative person does exist, my colLEAgues will vouch for me! (Right, guys?)
Having a clear space to work from can allow you to think clearly and creatively. A lack of organization in your office space can increase stress and distraction. Taking the time to organize your workspace can help you alleviate this stress, and leave room for creative ideas to enter your brain.
6. Ask yourself “what if” questions.
Questions can direct your thinking in a way that requires an answer. Your brain is a goal-seeking mechanism, so when you ask it a question, you prompt it to find an answer.
“What if” questions tend to free our minds to consider many possibilities. Examples could be: What if we could solve the problem better than anyone else? What if we had no budget or time constraints? What if we only had half the time? What if we could start all over? What if we couldn’t fail?
7. Get Moving
Research suggests it could be related to a boost in mood, or simply because walking diverts the brain’s energy long enough for it to wander. Bottom line is that moving is good for the mind and body, something we could all use more of!
Whenever you’re feeling creatively tapped, remember you’re always just one step away from getting your groove back. The next time you feel stuck, grab a pen and paper and ask yourself: “What if I were in kindergarten, what would I do next?” Consider the answer a first step towards a more creative you.