Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chase Away the Creative Blues

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." -Edward de Bono

One of the pitfalls of creativity is the shin-cracking stumble of being uninspired. How many times have you had a really productive streak and then nothing? If you're anything like me, ignoring your creative dry spell is harder than ignoring a giant spider crawling across your face. So, how does one remedy the drought? There are many ways to tempt your spark back out into the daylight. Generally, people have to find their own cure, but here are a few suggestions.


Whether you have a regular '9 to 5' or work from home, it's easy to get into the routine of bottom in chair, eyes on the computer. Though this is fine when all your cylinders are firing, but if you've run out of ideas, it's time to go idea shopping. The trip doesn't have to be lengthy or really have purpose. Put on your walking shoes and stroll around the neighborhood. Visit a green space or if that's not your style, sit at a coffee shop or bookstore. Whatever you do, distance yourself from your usual working area, enjoy some peace, and observe life around you. The kick-start you need may be in the colors of a pretty day or the smile of a stranger.

Hat Trick

I've used this method many times in the past. Write some random words on slips of paper and place them in a bowl or basket. Draw out a word; ready, set, create! Ignition may not be immediate, but when it comes, you'll be back to normal in no time. Sometimes, the brain needs a hard restart. When you're hung up on something or just lacking drive, forcing your mind to think the  unexpected can really help.


In the same vein as 'random word in a hat' is the shuffle. So many of us employ a steady set of skills in our field. Some of us code websites all day while some toil over layouts and illustrations. Sometimes, when our usual work bores us into stagnation, we need to shuffle to something unusual. How about getting creative in the kitchen? Find a recipe and make something. Interested in gardening? Get a new potted plant. Do a word puzzle or play a game. People have a plethora of skills, we just don't use them all in one day. Skills need a break just like pulled muscles.


Being uninspired, though seemingly monotonous, is something that can push your stress level to critical. Escaping to different surroundings may help in some respects, but remember, there are a lot of parts to the machine that is you. It's important to do diagnostics on everything. Have you laughed today? Has something made you feel like a child again recently? Cutting loose and being silly is great medicine. Shaking the snowglobe of your mind with a little laughter can really help things settle more clearly.

Creative silence can be deafening. It's important to keep perspective and not let the blank page get you down. Success and refreshment is never far. The trick is to not be dissuaded by the time it takes to get back on track.

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