This is the time of year I always start to get a little dispirited. The weather is grey, the leaves have fallen and it’s finally starting to get colder but it’s not quite time for the holiday festivities to begin. So this is when I tend to start losing direction in my work or my project becomes static and I can’t seem to get past what’s in front of me in order to take it to a new level. I know every creative type of person will come to a point when they just get stuck, it’s simply a curse of having an imaginative mind. But once someone gets in that mental rut its like getting a car out of the mud to get past it so they can continue on their innovative journey. I personally have a difficult time breaking through a creative block but I found a few things that have helped me work past what I was going through, so hopefully by sharing my few general suggestions they can help one of you step back and refocus on whatever inspiring project you are working on, getting back to yourself feeling your creativity recharged.
-Make a Playlist
Creating a list of songs that make you feel a particular way and puts you in the right mindset for your project helps you to get in your creative zone faster. Also having a playlist that you can just let play all the way through will prevent a break in concentration by feeling that you need to stop and change the music because it’s not the right kind of tempo or right kind of vibe for what you’re working on. This is one less distraction, helping you stay focused and providing you with your own customized environment, ideal for your creative process.
-Take a Walk
I’m sure you’ve probably heard this one before, but even the slightest change of scenery when you’ve got a mental block can help you mind shift gears so when you step back to your project you can see things more clearly with a new impression of what you’ve already done and a new clarity in where you envision it going.
-Make a List of Your Favorite Things
Writers are always told to “write what you know” because you already have a comprehensive viewpoint and storyline. Making a list of things you love or things that you feel inspired by can help refresh your understanding of why you are inspired by them and can give your creativity direction if you are lacking a particular avenue.
-Make it a Habit
Working on your art a little each day will help keep the creativity flowing on a regular basis. So whether you write a poem, draw a beetle, make a paper sculpture or take ten minutes to brainstorm ideas to save for later, just do something. If you can spare an hour or a minute, constantly creating will strengthen your skills and fire up your passion, making you happier and more connected to your work and yourself.
-Sit and Observe
I had a college professor who instructed us to sit in a public venue and listen to someone’s conversation, taking notes on the what they were saying and the surroundings they were in at the time. Bringing the notes back to the studio we created our project based on what we had heard and observed. I always thought that was an intrusive project, but now I see that he wanted us to really look at what and who was right in front of us. We are so wrapped up in our own thoughts we tend to forget to notice the emotions and ideas projected by those in our immediate surroundings. Taking a minute to people watch or to really listen to what someone has to say, can make us see things in a different perspective and may provide new opinions for us to consider. Don’t be afraid to write down a few ideas while you’re in the moment including, strong words that you may hear, colors that are particularly vibrant or scents that are enticing. Putting your response to the surroundings on paper will help you recall your experience clearly, allowing you to create from a specific moment rather than from a fading memory.
-Take a Break From Your Screen
We spend so much of our days in front of screens now with computers, iPods, iPads, tvs and an assortment of devices. We are constantly seeing digital images all day long. As a graphic designer most of my day is poured into my keyboard, creating points and pixels, so after I my work is done and I’ve settled in for the night I always try to spend at least half an hour reading a magazine or a book and just letting my mind be absorbed by the paper. Of course painters and sculptors and other visual artists aren’t looking at a screen when they create their art, but to those of us who must, we can benefit from allowing ourselves to have a mental break, literally unplug our minds and let our eyes relax.