Creativity is a funny thing. I think everyone if creative to some extent, but in different ways. Some people are able to problem solve like *that*. Others can draw or paint a masterpiece. And some can dream up incredible stories. Working in the creative industries, I’ve realised that there are certain things which can either inspire or crush creativity in a heartbeat. I’ve recently been feeling as if the creative bug I was bitten by at uni has gone on a bit of a holiday. In this post I want to examine why creativity sometimes disappears, and what you can do to get your creative mojo back.
I once read a quote on Rhianna’s blog which has stuck with me ever since:
“Creativity is like a puppy, and I need to take mine for more walks”
This rings massively true to what I was always taught through uni – basically a ‘use it or lose it’ kind of situation. Now, you’d think that in a creative day job I’d be flowing with ideas and inspiration, but unfortunately I’m not feeling this right now. Sure, we all get a creative block now and then, but this is for a different reason.
Have you ever felt like you’re just going through the motions every day, without having to really think about what you’re doing? This isn’t something I expected to happen in a field that requires ideas generation all the time. But I feel as if my creativity has become a bit dampened by working with brand guidelines and stlyistic restrictions all the time. Before I go on, I don’t want this to sound like a post written purely to moan about my job. This is a problem I’d be likely to meet in any role within an established brand, and the restrictions are necessary to create a coherent brand. But I want to make something new, so what can we do to stretch our creativity?
Firstly, I’ve set myself a goal this year to undertake more personal projects outside of work. Whether this comes through searching out more freelance work (lol shameless self plug – hit me up if you need a logo or whatever designed), or setting yourself projects to do at home outside of work, bringing a bit more variety to what you do can only be helpful, right? So, how do you start doing this? Beginning with something you’re passionate about, or an area you want to grow your skills in is a great way of inspiring yourself. For example, I really love illustration, but don’t really have the opportulity in my job to really give it a go. So in the run up to Christmas, I set myself the brief to illustrate and design my own Christmas cards. Yep that’s right, it doesn’t just have to be a random brief with no point, it can serve a purpose in your life! Whether it’s designing the invites for your future sister-in-law’s wedding or doing an illustration of Beyonce for the pure hell of it (yep, I’ve done this!), pick something you really want to do and go for it! And if you hate it, who cares? No one has to see it but you if you don’t want!
Surround yourself with inspiration
One thing I’ve been guilty of is surrounding myself with only one type of inspiration. For a long time, my social media was filled with bloggers, brands and outfit inspo. Now, at the time, this made sense as I was trying to grow a fashion bog, rather than a lifestyle one. But as we move through life, our tastes and styles change, and so should our inspiration sources. Most of us spend a huge amount of our time scrolling and liking every day, so every now and again, it makes sense to go through and see what’s not inspiring us any more. There’s no shame in unfollowing a person or brand who just isn’t to your taste, or promoting what you’re interested in any more. Plus, if you’re seeing things on your feed which make you unhappy, or make you start to compare yourself to someone else – get that gone. You should feel uplifted and inspired by what you’re seeing, not feeling like you ‘should’ be doing something, or looking a certain way. There’s being inspired, and then there’s self comparison, which are very different things.
One of my favourite sources for inspiration in design, blogging and fashion, is Pinterest – I’ve written a post on how I use Pinterest for outfit inspiration here, which features some of my favourite feeds!
Finally, and probably most obviously, I’ve found blogging is a great outlet for some of the creative energy a lot of us have. Aside from creating your own brand, you can release a lot of built up creativity just by writing. A lot of my content comes from an idea I’ve had on the train, or at work, or in the shower (actually, most of my ideas come to me in the shower then I’m scrambling to remember it when I get out – someone please invent a waterproof notepad!), and there’s no other way to express it than through writing. I’m a visually creative person, as I’m sure a lot of you are too, but writing lets me express other types of ideas in an alternatively creative way.
If you’re nervous about writing, or even publishing a blog, you don’t have to share it for the world to see. Another great tip I took away from uni was that, no matter how rough or unfinished the idea is in your head, just get it down on paper and then it’s there for you to think about or come back to or carry on working on. This goes for writing too – just get it out there and decide what you’re going to do with it late. I’ve got much better at this since I started jotting down blog posts on actual, physical paper. Sure, if I’ve got nothing handy when I’m on the tube, I’ll tap out a few sentences on my phone to remind me what I was thinkigng, but the act of physically writing something down feels much more free and you can erase and go back and modify if and when you decide to get it written up properly.
I’m determined that this is going to be the year that I get my creative mojo back. No more ‘that’ll take too long’ or ‘I don’t have time’ – I’m just going to get moving and set myself little tasks and take baby steps to get my creative puppy (remember that from before!) active again! I hope this will help some of you who might be feeling in a creative slump too, and please let me know if you have any of your own tips you use when you’re feeling low on ideas!