Creativity and inspiration often go hand-in-hand. One can’t really force them but one can, in fact, learn them. Creativity is not only something we are or aren’t born with.
Everyone who ever tried to do some type of creative work is probably familiar with the term creative block or writer’s block. That feeling when nothing comes out and the paper stays as white as the snow. For some people, starting is the most difficult part of a creative process, for others it’s finishing as inspiration slowly fades away during the project. How to overcome a creative block? How to be over all more creative – even if it’s not something that comes naturally?
1. Don’t wait for the perfect idea, and don’t be afraid to create nonsense.
Start, start, start – even if you don’t have the perfect idea, the perfect inspiration, or the perfect situation. The most important part is to start doing something to make it all happen. Often the creative flow doesn’t start until one really gets into the process.
Don’t fall into the dangerous self-critique trap, or do the mistake of desperately wanting to create something perfect and flawless from the start. It gets better – not by waiting but actually by doing. Don’t be afraid to create nonsense while getting better at it.
2. Search inspiration. Learn.
Like any skill in life, creativity is learned by practising it. Good writers wrote a lot to get where they are at. Good photographers photographed a lot. And so on. This is not rocket science (although that is also something that is learnable with enough practise, of course).
Get familiar with others’ work. Watch videos, pictures, and art. Read books, texts and blogs. Suck information and influences – different styles and ideas. Steal inspiration and put together old ideas in new ways.
”Good artists copy. Great artists steal”
3. Motivate yourself with goals and deadlines.
What better way to increase motivation than by having a little stress created by a closing deadline? If your project doesn’t have a set deadline or if you are doing the project just for yourself, it might be a good idea to set a deadline yourself. And stick to it as well. Let others know what you are working on and when it’s going to be done.
Work hard and precisely to make the goal happen in time. Innovate at night if you need to. Ask a friend to help bounce ideas around. Ask feedback, and learn from it.
4. Take distance, it’s healthy.
When a creative block hits and the inspiration is gone, take a break. Don’t be afraid to take some distance and to do something else. Fill your brain with something that doesn’t allow you to think about your project at all. The project will not run away. The winning ideas will come back, don’t worry.
It often helps to change surroundings, to look for new influences, to take some air. A walk outside might be a good idea to get some much-needed oxygen and blood into that stuck brain. Once that’s all flowing, the ideas will flow as well. And then it all comes back to point one; start doing, start creating.
The surroundings are unlikely to ever get perfect. A creative master works hard and patiently, even when there is no great inspiration. Creativity is not merely a special quality that we are born with – it’s a way of working that can be learned and bettered.
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