Just as freelance bloggers like me face writer’s blocks, freelance designers also experience their creative blocks from time to time. It can be extremely frustrating especially when you’re running out of time to submit your work to the client. There you are, staring hard at your project, hoping that somehow or rather, your original design idea would magically pop up in your mind.
Well, rather than waiting for that to happen, there are certain things you can do to facilitate the process. Sometimes all you need to do is take your attention off the problem, and voilà, a great idea jumps into your head! The question is, what should you do as you draw your focus away from the issue?
Below are some quality tips I have gathered to help you break free from such a block, have them applied well to get your creativity back!
1. Stay Positive
I’m not surprised if you were scratching your head as you read the first tip. It does seem like I’m suggesting that you should adopt a positive attitude that your creativity will be restored, and that kind of advice doesn’t really seem to help anyone. There are, however, some fundamental truths about how creativity flourishes under a positive mood.
Psychological research has shown that staying in a good mood induces creativity in individuals. We become more receptive to information and ideas from our environment and thus are more likely to think-out-of-the-box. When we are depressed or negative, we become fixated to just a few views, causing our mind inflexible.
So if you think you are running out of design ideas, don’t fret! It just makes matters worse. Try to engage in some of your hobbies, take your mind off whatever troubling you at work and go outside for a walk or chat. Lift off those stresses and you’re one step closer to innovation!
2. Find Time for Inspiration
How are you supposed to find time to get inspired when you’re already fighting to meet a deadline? No, you have to take some time for inspiration regardless of the deadline, as it’s the only way for you to get creative. Just as medical doctors need to keep themselves updated on the latest medical advancements, freelance designers like yourself have to be exposed to design ideas and anything that stimulates the aesthetic sense in you. As a freelancer, you need that kind of discipline to explore ideas by yourself.
It can be done even on a daily basis. Plug in your earphones and listen to inspiring music as you work on your craft. Doodle on a piece of paper. You’ll be surprised how ideas can connect from one medium to another. Sometimes creativity seems to hide within your subconscious and it can only be realized when you express yourself freely, be it through drawing, singing or even dancing to your favorite tunes.
3. Network with Designers
Two heads are better than one, and three heads are better than two. New ideas can be built upon old ones. When you’re out of ideas, try talking to other designers like yourself. You get feedbacks from them and from there you make your existing ideas better. It’s a learning process for designers alike as you experiment with new designs while staying humble and receptive to criticisms.
Interestingly enough, sometimes the act of sharing your design problems with someone else can make you come to a solution. At the very least, it makes you think through your issues and organize your thoughts.
Moreover, knowing that your designer friends are probably facing similar kinds of problems can be reassuring enough to take away your negativity. Feeling lack of inspiration and burnout at the same time? Talk to your design fellow, it just gets better.
4. Create Time and Space
As much as it is negotiable, try to get your clients to give you sufficient time to come up with a good design. When you’re under a tight schedule, you tell yourself that you cannot afford to make any mistake. Such pressure would only make you resort to using the old methods for your designs. Under such circumstances, it’s hard to leave room for creativity since you just don’t dare to take risk.
Even if it’s not possible to ask for sufficient time, you can still create an illusion of time and space for yourself so that your creative juices continue to flow. Take regular breaks or even meditate. If the time is really not on your side, then cut down the time spent for each break. It is not the quantity that matters; it is the quality of your breaks.
The most creative ideas usually come from where we do not have access to the subconscious. All you need is to put down your problems temporarily so that your subconscious mind is able to work on them without your conscious efforts.
5. Try New Ways of Doing Things
One of the reasons why you are facing designers’ block could be that you’re too used to doing things in a standard manner. No, not just in the area of design, but also possibly in other areas of your life. In other words, your mind becomes rigid with habits and your creativity dies away.
A lifestyle that is too systematic is not the ideal environment to nurture creativity. You need to do something different every now and then to stimulate your mind. Do things like watching movies different from your usual choice, trying some new food, taking a different route to where you usually go, etc. Be creative! The idea is to rouse your senses and this can help you be more creative with your design.