22nd May 2014
If you work in the web design industry, as we do, you’re expected to come up with cool, engaging ideas that are fresh, original and impressive – and on tap. And I’m sure you agree that Studio Republic regularly do exactly that, ahem… But even we occasionally reach that point where we stare at a white screen and think ’Erm….how shall I do this?’ And our minds go blank.
Usually a little change of activity is enough to allow some sizzling ideas to burst into life and we’re all fired up again - but ongoing, long-term creative block would be a dangerous thing – incurring missed deadlines, lost clients, poor profits and bad repute. Makes me sweat just a little to think of it..! If you want to keep creative block at bay – here are our Studio Republic tips.
Although the threat of an impending deadline can sometimes be quite motivating, usually short time frames are counter-productive. Forcing the creative process within a context of panic is not going to produce your best work. Instead, we’d advocate allowing realistic schedules - this is why you need a planning meeting and a well written brief before you start work. Allow yourself time to day dream and to open your mind to new ideas. Don’t think outside the box – throw the box away and get yourself a hot bubble bath! Or if your office isn’t conducive to naked activities, find a good window to stare out of.
Do you sometimes feel a bit middle-aged and ordinary – then you look at photos of yourself from your past and you realise how many cool things you’ve done? Bungee jumped , climbed Machu Picchu, swam naked in a tropical sea by the light of the moon ... Yeah baby - it’s invigorating. You can do the same with your portfolio of work – you flick through your past projects, testimonials and deliverables and you remind yourself how skilled and creative you are. It’s inspiring to remind yourself how good you actually are at what you do. While you’re at it, it’s good to collect and share those positive reviews with your customers and prospects too.
Sometimes, in an effort to be efficient or consistent, people can develop habits that become monotonous and repetitive. If that happens you need to break out and try something new! This could be trying a totally new approach and ripping up your rule book, or learning new skills to apply to your challenge (if you’re a choreographer, learn a martial art for your next dance routine). If you don’t have that flexibility in your role, change your routine in whatever way you can, even if that’s picking a new route to work each day or doing something you consider a bit wild – put your brain in unfamiliar terrain.
A good way to get creative juices flowing is to bounce ideas off other similarly creatively minded individuals. Socialise, schedule a lunch meeting, go to a networking session or go to an event to hear other talking about their experiences. But don’t copy others – use them as inspiration to push you forward. Does your industry have an awards programme? If you read through the list of winners and what they won their award for it can bring out your competitive edge and motivate you to match their talent.
Creativity is a way of being, not just of doing - so be creative every day to avoid dry spells. When you can’t think of a good idea, think of a 100 bad ones and write them down. Then look over them and think about how you could convert some of them into something good. Remind yourself of Thomas Edison’s quote 1903 “None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”