Since I wrote about how to make the best of summer last Sunday, I’m not done with giving you advice from my enormous amount of wisdom I accumulated along my many years upon this earth. It’s my pleasure.
This time I’m even more specific with my advice column about creativity and how to get back into a great mindset once you’re stuck. It happens to the best of us (even me – can you imagine?!): that horrible state when you think you can’t create something new and there are no ideas in sight. It’s troubling especially when you depend on your creativity with your work or your well-being (or in my case: both). However there’s a cure for being stuck in a creative rut. I tried a few techniques over the years and have found that the following tips work the best for me.
1. Limit yourself.
Abundance is the death of creativity. I find myself the most creative when I have limitations: like I want to create something out of a specific material or if I want to try a new technique or when I’m in need of something useful. I try to come up with ways how to go beyond the first thought.
What else can I do with the new skill I want to acquire? How can I make it on the cheap? Is there something specific that I want to use in my new project?
2. Start early.
Even if you’re not a morning person: start as early as you can in the day. I found out that as soon as I got up and did my morning toilette, I get on cracking. Without breakfast or anything. With just a tea (hot in winter, cold in summer) beside me I’m the most productive. I work for about 2 hours until I get hungry. In this time I’ve managed to make a lot already and with this sense of achievement I keep on going through my day.
I don’t recommend to start without breakfast to everyone but I like it that way. Getting things done early in the day sets the mood for the rest. This feeling of accomplishment afterwards is a great boost.
3. Just write.
Even if you don’t need to create a text, take a pen and paper and write down your first thoughts about the topic that’s on top of your mind. If it’s something unrelated to what you’re working on, you’ll get it out of your system. If it’s something that concerns your work, it’ll get your creative juices flowing and you’ll find it hard to stop.
It can be dull, don’t judge your writing! You’ll never know what is hiding inside your brilliant brain. I can also recommend mind-mapping. Just write down the first word about a topic you’re thinking about and take it from there: write assosiated words along and branch it out. There are a million ideas on the paper before you finish.
I’m not good at drawing however when I’m thinking up a project for the blog, I like to doodle the first draft on paper. The visual representation makes me think about execution, design and styling. It’s easier to judge the idea and let it evolve.
5. Go for a walk.
While you’re walking, your thoughts will wander too. Embrace everything that comes to your mind, turn it upside down and let it leave. Don’t fixate on anything for too long.
Also try to be mindful of the things around you. There’s some great inspiration in your surrounding. I like to walk in nature but don’t limit yourself. Sometimes all it needs is a change of scenery.
6. Set yourself a time.
First when I started working for myself, I only did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I thought that’s the new freedom. However it’s a really bad habit I was building. Without structure your life will get more difficult: the work will occupy your mind much longer if you procrastinate. Always thinking about what you should be doing and not enjoying your present.
I set aside some time to get me started – like 2 hours to focus on a task. When I’m done before that time, I try to improve the quality and not stop until the time is over. If I’m not done when the timer goes off, I’m already in my working mind in which I want to finish the task at hand.
7. Do nothing.
This is the last resort. When you can’t focus, don’t know where to start or just don’t feel the spark, do nothing. And with nothing I mean nothing! Set yourself a time when you would work and don’t let yourself get distracted by facebook, magazines, books and pinterest. Don’t consume!
Just sit there, do a headstand, play with your fingers or gaze into space. Boredom is the ultimate source of creativity. Let your mind take its time to wander and find new ideas. Or have you ever wondered why you have the best ideas in bed or in the shower?
What tips do you have on being creative? Any recommendations on what works for you?
Now. Carry on!