We’ve all been there: sat at a desk, willing, praying, that your brain will engage your hands, and that they’ll move in such a way on your keyboard that something original, valuable and brilliant will appear on screen.
Sadly, it very rarely does unless you can properly channel your inner creativity. Here at the tree, we like to think that we’re pretty good at getting over “creative block”, so here are some of our favourite ways to zone in on that precious inner creative flair.
Routine really works
It really must be said that the importance of routine can’t be overstated when it comes to creative thinking. One of our favourite visuals is this: a list of famous creatives like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Maya Angelou and Charles Dickens, displayed to graphically illustrate their daily routines.
One thing that you’ll notice straight away is that all of them have extremely strict, regimented schedules. How can you argue with that for evidence that having a routine – and sticking to it – really works?
Life’s little rituals…
When I was young, and when my mum used to smoke, I would ask her – irritated – why she did it. She would kindly explain that it was her way of “having a moment”. While we don’t condone smoking here at the tree, we’ll happily tell you that those "moments" – or rituals – are really important for channeling creativity.
Charles Darwin, for example, used to go on an early morning walk every day to get his creative juices flowing. The aforementioned Angelou would always, always do her writing from a motel or hotel, which she’d commute to every day. Rituals allow you to gather your thoughts, to do something mechanical and let your mind wonder.
Whatever it takes…
Carving out your creative space
Whether you’re a freelance creative working from your bedroom, or you’re a full-time employee at a large agency, it’s really important to get your set-up right. In fact – if the space allows for it – it might even be better to create a separate creative space to your usual workspace.
This fantastic quotation from the brilliant John Cleese explains why:
“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”
Next, make the space your own. Let your imagination run wild. If you think that a small collection of potted cacti will help nourish your creativity, include them in your decorating. And don’t worry about being untidy, either, as research suggests that disorder is a boost for creativity. Or at least that’s what my excuse is when Dan tells me to tidy my desk… (sorry Dan!)
Sticking your head above the physical and digital parapet
And finally, while it’s all well and good DIY-ing it, sometimes, creativity comes from the back-and-forth of conversations between individuals. That’s the whole point of the widespread (…and I think rather tedious) open-plan office concept.
So, if you’re really hitting a creative brick wall and you’ve done everything above, don’t just sit there. Ask your friends what they’d do, ask them their ideas, or send out an office-wide email.
Get on Facebook or Twitter and see what other people’s approaches to tacking similar issues are, and have a quick look at how successful each approach is. After all, creativity for creativity’s sake is all well and good, but if you're like us, you might want your efforts to be received by the largest possible audience.
Hopefully my above ramblings have given you a few ideas about how to really kick-start your creative process. Give these ideas a go and let me know the results. Likewise, if you’d like to talk about how we could help you or your business be more creative, give me a bell.
020 336 29494