Creativity is a mental process involving the discovery or associations of new ideas or concepts, fueled by the process of either conscious or unconscious insight. Where does this ‘Creativity’ come from? Is everyone creative? If not, what is stopping them from being so? These are some of the questions that always strike our mind when we talk about being creative. From what I have learnt from my experience in graphic designing and blogging, everyone is creative. It is not a born trait or something which only experienced artists can boast of.
Creativity comes in different forms and not just in painting, designing or drawing. Creativity is just like any other skill which can be learned, nurtured and honed. But, there comes a time when one pushes his limits of working and reaches a point where he is not able to get inspired or motivated any further and thus not able to get any new ideas. This is what is called a ‘Creative Burnout’. In this article, I have tried my best to explain the different ways in which we can seek inspiration and avoid Creative burnout.
Also, I am happy to say that I have completed my 2nd month of blogging. I would like to thank all of my readers and those who constantly motivated and inspired me to work harder and write more articles. There are a few interesting articles that I wrote which received a good response. I am quite enthralled to see that people are beginning to like my articles and I can notice a great amount of constructive discussion that is happening around most of the articles.
Well, as I said, in this article, I have shared my insights on what I think is the best way to avoid your creativity burnout. When I say burnout, I actually mean the dry spell of ideas that haunts every designer. It is a moment of frustration when we are not able to brood any ideas and our mind goes completely blank.
1) Get away from your computer
I have intentionally put this in the top of the list because I think prolonged usage of the computer is responisble for the creativity drought. We spend hours together in front of the computer without realising how it is draining our ability to think and foster new ideas. We tend to forget that computers are merely a tool to help us formulate our ideas to reality. We need to train our mind to concieve new ideas and thoughts. So, my best advice for you is to get the hell away from your workspace for a while and start doing something interesting like sketching, painting, drawing or anything that you feel you are good at. This not only releases the stress but also gives you a larger space to think and contemplate new ideas.
So, once you finish reading this article, get off your computer. Computer are great, I don’t disagree but it is not where creativity takes its birth. One should not look at a computer for getting creative ideas and inspiration. Get out for a while and observe things around you. Do not forget to take your sketchbook/notebook with you. You can get inspired just by closing your eyes and recalling what you’ve been observing. Inspiration just strikes like a lightning bolt, so you have to be ready when it does. Also, quite to similar to lightning, it never strikes at the same place twice.
To understand how sketching can help you improve your designs, read this article – To sketch or not to Sketch from DI.
2) Read other blogs
The next best thing to do is browse through a few of the websites which offer great content in design and creativity. Just because your blog is getting high traffic, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read blogs which aren’t in your ‘league’. There are so many blogs which offer substantially impressive content on design and creativity but haven’t been able to climb up the ladder as quickly as many other popular blogs. I always try to read the entire article and sometimes I end up getting new ideas for my next article. Read thought provoking articles which helps you enhance your ability to judge and make realistic conclusions.
Stumbleupon is a great way of finding new and classic articles which will helps you immensely in finding inspiration. Also, do not forget to take a glance through the comments section. I usually find a lot of ideas from different people while reading the comments.
Apart from reading articles from blogs like Smashing Mag, Fuel Brand, Just Creative design and Design Cubicle, I also read articles from these blogs which have some really great content and are improving everyday.
If you think your blog has some impressive content as well, please share it with us. We like to showcase them here. If you are active on twitter and are following some great designers, then you will discover lots of new websites everyday which are really good.
3) Try to get Self-motivated
I was having a small converstaion with John Cole, the owner of Resource hive, a couple of days ago and that reminded me of the advantages of getting motivated. One of the best ways to avoid the Creative burnout is to get self-motivated. Keep reminding yourself everyday of what you need to do and what your goals are. This will help you think better and work more efficiently. Ergo, you will not fall short of inspiration as easily as if you had just followed your daily routine without getting self-motivated. One of the ways in which I always keep myself motivated is by changing my wallpapers everyday. My wallpapers are basically the works of famous graphic designers and artists. So, every time I look at them, I get inspired to create more and to think better.
4) Psychological Inertia is a creativity killer
Psychological Inertia is defined as ‘Predilection towards conventional ways to analyze and solve problems’. It is basically known as ‘Not thinking outside the box‘. Psychological Inertia represents the many barriers to personal creativity and problem-solving ability, barriers that have as their roots “the way that I am used to doing it.” In solving a problem, it is the inner, automatic voice of this inertia whispering “You are not allowed to do that!” Or, “Tradition demands that it must be done this way!” One of the main reasons for creativity not being nurtured in a proper way is, to always follow a specific path of thinking and not to deviate from this approach. A good suggestion to help you get out of this, so called ‘Psychological Inertia’ is to think beyond the obvious. Try to solve puzzles whenever you get free time. This may not give you any inspiration but it surely helps you to broaden your horizons of thinking.
5) Get out and Get Inspired
Do not always work at home or at your workspace. Give it a little break, go outside, take a stroll and observe things. Analyse how other people have directly or indirectly used the power of creativity in what they have done. Most of the times, one gets inspiration from buildings, the coffee cups, cars, road signs and others. Frankly, I find it very boring to work at home. It makes me lethargic and unproductive. Carry your laptop when you go outside to take a break. Work inside a cafeteria. You might meet interesting people who might inspire you or maybe their clothes will help you in contemplating your next design. As the quite goes “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” Take some time off to visit museums, zoos, art galleries and Bookstores. Trust me, this will help you to gather a huge amount of information for your next articles and pretty soon, you will be flooded with new ideas.
6) Listen to your favorite Music
This is one of my favorite ways to relieve myself from the stress and help me garner new ideas. Always keep your iPod or any music player beside you. Listen to music whenever you are free from work and when you feel you are stressed out. You can also visit you favorite music store and browse through some of the album covers. They are a great source of inspiration.
Check out these two articles which showcase some cool album art:
7) Get inspired by Nature
Nature is the best source of inspiration. We also have to agree that nature is the best designer ever. The amount of creativity and intricacy in some of Mother Nature’s ‘products’ are simply breathtaking. Although, I must admit that it is not easy to find inspiration from nature, not everyone is able to perceive nature in a creative manner. Looking at the world we live in and finding a way to integrate it into our design requires seeing nature from a new and very different perspective. There is a plethora of inspiration waiting to strike you once you go out and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.
Read this excellent article titled : 17 Examples of techniques for creating designs inspired by Nature
8 ) Find Inspiration on the web
Well, it is an undeniable fact that most of our ideas are sparked from the beautiful things that we see on the web. There are several websites which are a great source of inspiration to us. Websites like Devianart, behance, FFFFound, Design Inspiration, Logopond, Fubiz showcase some of the best works of art in the world. Try to visit these websites and browse through some of the works, pictures, logos that are showcased. This will help you a lot in thinking about your next article.
9) Aim for improvement, rather than perfection.
There is no such thing as a perfect artist. There is always a scope for improvement and you must strive to improve everyday rather than becoming satisfied with what you have done today. This will invoke a sense of motivation in you and thus enhancing your abilities to draw inspiration from around you.
Most of us do not know that 90% of the graphic design artists do not blog. They quietly sit in a corner in their workspace and keep practicing and improving day by day. If you browse through some of the artists in Deviant Art, you will know what I’m talking about. They just do not have time to sit and write tutorials and articles like us but they are continually contributing to the design community with stunning wallpapers, icons and other related stuff.
10) Use the Mind Mapping technique to get more ideas
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are, by definition, a graphical method of taking notes. The visual basis of the maps helps one to distinguish words or ideas, often with colors and symbols. It is a method in which you start with an idea, then create links on how to get to that idea, where the idea can be implemented and what are the future applications and enhancements of the idea. This itself creates an entire idea framework which helps you to analyse your original idea better. You can then use this information to write an article which encompasses the idea from every direction. Also, don’t eliminate anything in the beginning and once you have enough ideas, slowly edit down. When you have a few well developed concepts, then go to the computer to execute them.
For instance, let us assume you are writing an article on ‘Retro Futuristic Art‘. Keeping that as a central motif, try to create maps on how you can get there. You could think of questions like :
1) What is Retro Futurism?
2) How many designers use this in their works?
3) Are there any good tutorials which explains how to create such designs?
4) What is the inspiration behind creating such art?
These are some of the questions that may pop up while you are creating a mind map. Doing so, will definitely give you some ideas on what to write about in your next article.
There are a lot of tools which will help you in Mind Mapping. Read this article on How to become Laser Focused with Mind Mapping
Finally, I would like to conclude with the most important factor to get ideas and to avoid a creative drought. It is most certainly, ‘To practice a lot’. A great design is a result of hours or even weeks of practice, hard work and perseverance. You cannot get a ground shattering idea overnight. It is always a result of practicing and working hard on contemplating it. This helps you transcend beyond mundane thinking and gives you the ability to look deep inside something, where others cannot.
Well, these are some of my opinions on what would help you to avoid your creative drought. If you have any good points, please feel free to share it with us. Everyone has their own way of battling this issue, so I am expecting a lot of suggestions and opinions Good Luck!!