I know many would find it hard to believe that even I, a graphic designer, find creative thinking not so easy to come by. You would think a switch was embedded into my mind from birth and the ‘on’ position was welded into place, but again, I wish it were that easy. I have days where I feel my mind is flying with ideas, like leaves in the wind; I find it hard to grab them as they fly around me. I never seem to have enough time to catch them all so I can dive into their pile of possibilities. And then there are other days, where I feel like my mind is a giant smog cloud, never leaving its place of birth, suffocating me to annoyance. Disgusting? Yes, but so very true.
It’s a rather heavy pressure, considering I work in a world where creative ideas are sought from many on a regular basis. I’m confined to my own small space, shared beside many other busy co-workers. The closeness and chatter can interrupt quiet thoughts that could lead me to the next big idea. But after learning that it’s not a field of roses, that you have to work to make an idea bloom, I’ve compiled a list of ways to bring things to life on my own terms without waiting for the magic to happen. After all, no one said thinking outside of the box was easy so we have to get creative to be creative!
Whether you’re in marketing like me, or just someone who is looking for ways to find inspiration, here are my favorite tips for sparking creativity back into your life.
Get out of the office and schedule time to think
Whether it’s hiking, driving, going for a jog or taking a shower, little to no interruptions allows you to relax and let your mind wonder. If you’re able to come up with ideas and bring them to the table, it shouldn’t matter where or when the ideas came to life. Change up your surroundings and you’ll be surprised at the results.
Write or sketch it down
The great thing about smart phones is that you never need to worry about carrying a pen or a piece of paper to take important notes. When an idea hits, jot it down or sketch it to life. This can often spark other ideas in the process allowing you to approach what’s most impactful or allow you to see what may not work. Either way, you’re allowing your mind to expand across different thoughts or questions.
Death to the Cell Phone
Contradicting to the suggestion above, sometimes technology is our roadblock. The amount of information stored on our phones and feeding into us is overload. Even I get tired of looking at ads or jumbling five different conversations at once. Put the phone down, bring your head up and take a break by letting your mind focus on one task only.
Read and Surf
I know this word haunts many and that today’s generation can’t hold their attention span long enough, however you cant beat the truth. Reading opens the imagination and where there’s imagination, there are ideas. Whether it’s a blog, news article, novel or forum, flagging content and trends just may help you stumble across an idea. And you should never feel ashamed surfing through and looking at other creative works to see how they handled their project. It just may help you put the pieces together in order for you to figure out the best solution for yours.
Turn up the Dial
Personally my best ideas come when I’m driving to and from work. This is because I look forward to turning my music up, singing with my off-tune voice, and doing a little jig without taking a mailbox out. Music has done wonders for many famous creatives and still does to this day. Whether it’s hard rock, classical or country, just have some fun and let the mind wonder within the lyrics of each song.