When working in a creative field it can often be a challenge to keep those inspired ideas flowing. Staring at a blank screen, canvas or page can be disconcerting after a while and when the pressure of a deadline looms overhead you might just find yourself cracking.
So what does one do?
Let’s look at the most common things. First thing you should have is a comfortable work environment. Your chair, desk and surroundings need to fit. An ergonomic chair that is at the right height to meet a sturdy desk that holds your computer and materials are minimum requirements. The room needs to be well lit and at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Allow all your senses to be engaged in a way that works best for you. If soft ambient music and gentle scented candles complete the scene, then make it so. Ideally you would have a door that can be closed to block out ambient noises and sound proof windows if your office is next to a busy street. In short, set the stage.
Pull together the tools to get the job done. Whether it’s a computer with multiple screens, a pallet of oil paints and canvas or a pen and paper, gather those items you need to get started. Along with the physical tools, you’ll need to make sure the instructions for the project are clear. Is this a purely abstract creative process or are you required to adhere to certain restrictions and guidelines? Does the blog post need to be exactly 500 words long or does the web page need to incorporate the teal of the logo?
Next you need to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead. How much thought have you given this project? Is it something that’s been tucked in the back of your mind for a while and now just needs to come out? Or perhaps it’s a brand new creative request that you’re considering for the first time and you need to think about it before you can possibly take action.
What if you’ve done all this and still….nothing? How on earth do you move forward if that blank screen stares back at you for a couple hours, your eyes are tired and you just feel lost?
Turns out, the most common solution to ‘creative freeze’ is to do something else. ANYTHING else.
Ask any creative types and they’ll tell you that they get their inspiration everywhere. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a chat with a colleague, stepping away from that blank page is the number one boost to creativity. Some folks get busy: gardening, walking, reading or people watching while others take a nap or quietly reflect over a coffee and newspaper. The idea here is that if you’ve fed the necessary details and requirements into your subconscious, you need to then let it percolate. Let your brain do what it does so well – process data and find solutions. Move away from the project and let your mind own it for a while. After some time has passed, maybe a couple days, revisit the problem and skim the ‘filtered’ solutions that float to the top. This less forced technique brings out the creative genius that lies dormant in us all.
By Marnie Hughes