A question that I’m often asked is “how do you stay creative?” I’ve been told by many people that they could never be a designer because you have to constantly have new and worthwhile ideas. While this is true, it’s not exactly as hard as it sounds if you’re naturally a creative thinker.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had a creative mind–I turned my bookshelf in my room into a 3-story apartment complex for my Barbies, writing / illustrating homemade books was a favorite hobby, and art was always one of my best subjects in school.
However, now that I have a job that requires me to be creative, there are some things that I actively do on a regular basis to keep the creative part of my brain activated so that I am able to keep generating new ideas.
Make Lists - The less that you have in your head, the clearer that you can think. I am constantly making lists on my iPhone; Evernote is a great app for this since it syncs with your computer, too!
Never Stop Learning - Read books, subscribe to newsletters, watch tutorials, and ask questions to keep your mind sharp and your wheels turning. Just because you’re out of school and have a full-time job doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for learning. There is so much information out there just waiting to be soaked up.
Design for Yourself - I love working with clients and do that 40 hours out of the week; however, once in awhile, it’s so fun to design for yourself since you call the shots. My illustration style was birthed out of a personal project that I started on a whim one afternoon in college. It’s amazing how an impulsive idea to draw two little kids in a tea cup sparked the foundation for Laura Likes Design!
Unique Inspiration - I have an inspiration file that contains bits of inspiration from all kinds of places. Things such as paper coffee sleeves, torn out magazine pages, clothing hang tags, and brochures are all stored in a huge box to inspire me when I’m in a rut.
New Playlists - I listen to Pandora constantly because music is one of my biggest inspirations. It helps me think, work, and create on a daily basis and I love Pandora’s ability to always generate new music so that the tunes don’t get stale.
Clean Workspace - I’ve always worked best when my desk and office are neat and tidy. Cluttered desktops make my mind feel cluttered, which distracts from my work. I’m also a huge believer in making your bed everyday–for some reason, this just really sets the tone for my productivity.
Cut Out Stress - Stress is definitely a buzz kill; it zaps our mental and physical energy and leaves us feeling tired and overwhelmed. When I’m worried about something, it’s so hard to think outside of the box and be creative since my mind isn’t free to explore ideas. Whenever I run into this mental block, I usually step away from my computer for a little while, do something to relax, and then come back to my projects.
Positivity - I keep my Google Reader filled with uplifting blogs, my playlists are packed with encouraging lyrics, and the core people that I interact with are positive, uplifting, and inspiring. Nothing kills your creativity faster than a negative mind, work environment, or voice.
What are some of the ways that you stay creative?
Does your job require you to be creative?