Working in a creative field, such as design, can be taxing on the imagination. Day in and day out, designers are called upon to get those creative juices flowing and splash a little of it around (that ended up sounding worse than intended…but lets move passed it, shall we). The constant dip in the pool of ideas can lead to creative blocks that keep you coming up empty and lacking the imaginative edge you need to work. It happens all the time, and to even the most inspired among us. There comes a day when those fantastic feats of enterprising vision flounder, fall short and in general, fail you.
It happens. Breathe. The important thing to remember when these menacing moments occur, is that they are merely moments, and they too, shall pass. It is not a personal failure on your part, and this too, is good to keep in mind. It is not something you have done, it is simply something that is happening to you. And there are some ways that have proven effective to folks who have faced these times, and come through them with success. And they all involve taking a mental five.
The Mental Five
What we mean, is you need to unplug and give your mind a rest. Not always the easiest thing to do, we know, especially when you have a design deadline looming in the distance. But believe that one of the worst things you can do, is to panic and try to force your way through it. Take some time, and unwind. Like we said, take a mental five!
#1 – Music or Podcasts
Tyler Hayes recently posted an article on Fuel Your Creativity about the benefits of music during crucial creative times with Music to Feed Your Soul During Crucial Design Moments. It explores the value that music can offer when you are experiencing these blocks. Podcasts have helped us in the past as well. Pick your poison, and let it play.
#2 – Board or Video Games
Speaking of playing, let your mind have a little fun. Take time from the stresses of work to engage your brain in a completely different way. Board games and, more so for us, video games offer an easy escape from the burdens of being blocked, and need to be mentioned here as they are extremely helpful.
#3 – Movies or Shows
Another easy escape that can be made to ease the anquish of creative blockage that helps the mind take a much needed vacation from creation, are movies or shows. Losing yourself in some storyline and letting it touch you, can offer the mind a chance to work on something else as you take in the tale. Feeling something other than the stress that may have brought on the block, in the first place.
#4 – Reading
Books, blogs, comics, whatever you fancy flipping through, go for it. This is another great way to lose yourself and your worries for a taste of something different for a time. Pages can provide that proverbial free passage elsewhere. Afterall it’s all about giving your mental faculties a nice, relaxing stretch.
#5 – Get Outside!
While we are on the subject of stretching, lets venture to the last of the mental five, getting outside. This recharges you in so many ways it’s almost unbelievable (almost…BELIEVE!). When escape is in order, make a literal one! Get away from the confines of your office space, ground zero for your uninspired grind, and reconnect with nature. Breathe in the great outdoors, and smell the freedom they can offer. Inspiration soon to follow.
It seems that as long as you surrender to your senses, and let go in your mind, your subconscious will continue on your quest. It may take minutes, though it could take hours, but the blocks will melt away and the creative inspirations will flood back in giving you the edge you need to complete or at least continue your work. Time may be of the essence, but quality should never be sacrificed to force your way through a creative block. Instead, step back. Your mind is trying to tell you that it needs time off. Ignore at the possible detriment of your design. Too often in creative pursuits, you come across work that comes across as forced, rushed. Creating takes time. Someone once told me, that if you are going to do something, then take the time to do it right. We think that holds true here, as well.