Every now and then I run into creative hurdles that just leave me feeling uninspired, bored, and left with the feeling of “am I really going to be able to create something original for this next project, client, friend, or colleague?” I’m sure you have been there too if you’re reading this, but creativity is like a burden sometimes. A weight on your shoulders to create something that is new and original, that also aligns with your vision or a clients can be a real monster that just nips at the heels of your creativity.
I recently just got through with a very busy season of projects. From the spring until the end of my summer I worked my butt off and by the end of it all I felt creatively spent. My biggest issue was I still had some clients that I needed to take care of but I was so mentally spent that it was very tough to get started with creating anything. At this point I was so uninspired and genuinely felt like I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything new and original that would distinguish their business from all the others in their industry. Which leads me to my first tip.
1. ACCEPT THAT THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
There are SOOOO many logo designs, websites, songs, lyrics, poems, books, movie scripts, movie scores, business card designs, craft beers out there, and the list just goes on. You have to accept the fact that there is a 95% chance (probably higher) that what you are about to create is already going to be similar to something out there, and it will NOT be perfect. Looking at this from a larger perspective will allow you to see things differently. Look at Google, one of the largest companies out there and they seem to have a new variation of their logo on their homepage every few years or so. WHY? There are a number of reasons, but the key here is they’re always evolving, adapting and improving themselves and they are not afraid to do so. Leading me to my next tip…
2. ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE TO ADAPT
It is so easy to do the same things over and over and over and over and o..(sorry I got comfortable with typing that)…Comfort is a killer to creativity. If you aren’t challenging yourself to grow, to learn, and to study to get better at your creative skill then don’t expect to stick around and leave a legacy. Legacy, ooo, such a strong word but for good reason. Legacy is a result of strength, and strength is a result of being fearless to adapt and evolve from your past. I can accept right now that this next logo design I make for a client may not be the best work I have personally done, but if they like it and it communicates what they desire there is always going to be room to improve upon it later, at least I built a firm foundation. This applies to any body of creative work. Think about the art of making movies. All the cgi, and the special effects we have today have only been improvements upon something that was already created. People still went to see movies back then just like they do today, only the quality has improved over time as the industry has grown in knowledge and adapted to change.
3. ACCEPT ALL OF YOUR IDEAS AND FLESH THEM OUT
One of the greatest weapons that stifles creativity is apathy. When you have an idea, get it out. If that means you’re driving and you have a whim of creativity come upon you and you have to pull over and write down the start of your next poem in your iPhone RIGHT THIS INSTANT then DO IT. I cannot remember how many times I have had an idea in the past and thought, “I’ll remember to write that down when I have my guitar,” and I totally forget the idea I had later on, never to be seen or heard from again. Not EVERY creative idea is a GOOD idea, but EVERY idea is WORTH trying and using until you find the RIGHT idea.
4. ACCEPT CREATIVE INSPIRATION
You have probably heard the quote, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. This does not mean to go steal someone else’s creative work and call it your own. To me this means, let their work inspire you enough so that you take what they did and find ways to improve upon it and put YOUR INDIVIDUAL STYLE on it. Granted, most creatives start by imitation and if they stick with creating whatever it is they’re passionate about they eventually realize how sick they are of just trying to copy someone else. I see imitation as a means to find your creative voice, because eventually you will get sick of copying others and you will find your voice and just want to be yourself. If you see yourself in that place of imitation don’t get too comfortable and go back to my second tip and ADAPT so you can become your original YOU.
5. ACCEPT YOUR CREATIVE ORIGINALITY
Once you accept who you are and realize that you are in constant transition/evolution within your scope of creativity you will be surprised what comes out. Miles Davis, God rest his soul, said,
“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”
So, accept the fact that maybe the reason you are not too sure about whatever it is you’re creating could possibly be due to the fact that you are doing something new & different; something your eyes have not seen, your ears have not heard, your voice hasn’t sung, your hands haven’t written. If in that case you end up not liking what you createed you can at least take that experience and learn from it by improving upon it for your next creative project.