As a designer, my creative juices are expected to flow all the time, and I need to be able to come up with creative content on the spot. As any creative knows, sometimes this isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be.
I’m human and I have days, and sometimes weeks, where creativity doesn’t come to me the way I want it. Life can be overwhelming and sometimes stressful, but I’ve found it’s very important to stay curious and not let life get the best of me. My creativity is counting on me!
So I wanted to share four strategies I’ve found helpful when I need a kick start to get me out of my creative ruts and push me toward inspiration and motivation.
1) Take breaks and walk away when you’re feeling a creative block.
For me, this makes a huge difference. Deadlines will always be there, but stepping away (and not working on a different project) when I’m drawing a blank is super important. I may take my dog for a quick walk, make a cup of coffee and enjoy it outside, or put on a record and listen to some music. The project will thank you later.
2) Start a “creative library.”
I have a growing collection of books and magazines containing a plethora of creative content. When I was in college, I had a teacher who would preach the importance of having a library. Every semester she would give us a list of 20 books, mostly pertaining to design, and she would say, “These aren’t mandatory for your grade, but they are mandatory for your design career.”
I took her word for it, and now I have more design books than I know what to do with, but I love going through them when I run into a creative block. They’re a reminder to keep creating and pushing through, and eventually something great will happen. I also enjoy going through magazines, design-related or not. New magazine issues are always relevant, and it’s great to know what trends are happening right now. You’d be surprised where you can find inspiration!
3) Keep a collection of images that inspire you.
In addition to my creative library, I find it important to stay current and involved by watching designers I admire. I follow many designers on social media, mostly on Instagram, Pinterest, Behance, and Dribble. I keep a folder on my laptop and phone of different images I find that inspire me so I can refer back to it.
4) Be part of a design community.
I’m lucky enough to have stayed close to my fellow design classmates. Meeting up with them monthly and discussing projects we’re working on, really helps me stay inspired and keeps me motivated. We help each other brainstorm different ideas, and we teach each other different skills we’re learning in our careers. It’s also nice knowing that we’re not alone — we often feel similar emotions when facing creative challenges. We help each other stay positive!
I also attend a monthly breakfast event series called Creative Mornings. Each month, creatives from my area get together to support and inspire one another in the community. Different speakers discuss a variety of topics from sustainability to homelessness, and they share how creativity has helped improve many aspects of our city.
Ultimately, getting out of a creative rut is something I think we all struggle with from time to time. Be encouraged to try new things and figure out what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others. There are so many resources out there to help us find inspiration and strengthen our motivation!