But the process of coming up with a creative piece of work, whether it’s a design, a painting or a novel seems, in the eyes of many, to be shrouded in mystery. Throughout history, artists have been revered for their abilities as though their inspiration comes to their fingertips through some mystical means, but the reality is that the creative process is much more down-to-earth.
In my experience, it’s no good waiting for the muse to strike – if you do, you could be waiting all day! Hard work and perseverance are much more important qualities when it comes to teasing out that creativity. But the good news is that there some tricks you can try to encourage your creative side so here are some of my creative secrets!
Sometimes when you’re engaged in a creative activity you end up going down avenues which are simply not working, and with your face close to the drawing board it can be hard to see why. Try having several different tasks on the go at any one time – that way you can switch between jobs and when you come back to the one that was causing the problem, the way forward often becomes clear.
Fast and furious
Lots of thinking these days has focused on the value of short bursts of activities to stimulate creativity – such as writing non-stop for five minutes, or trying to create as many drawings you can out of a series of circles within a set period. When you’re creating something, try timing yourself to work at it solidly for a short, set space of time, even if it’s only five minutes; sometimes your brain will hive off at a surprising angle when you force it to keep going and don’t allow it time to rest.
Exercise is great for getting those creative juices going. Google is famous for its offices filled with toys to inspire out-of-the-box thinking, but a 10-minute walk outside can work just as well to help your mind float free from the confines of the office and find some fresh angle on a project you’re working on.
Creativity is all about thinking of new ways of doing things, a different take on a topic that engages the audience because it is unexpected. That is why good writers avoid clichés: lazy phrases that the reader’s eye will simply slide over because they are so familiar. When it comes to design, the important skill is to try to come up with something visually striking that hasn’t been done before. Yes, it is of paramount importance to work with a client and stick to the brief, but designers are also paid to use their talents to provide their own creative input into the work they produce. When working on any project, at all times ask yourself: “Is this new? How can I make it my own?” And there’s no harm in crating the weird and wonderful, the alternative and striking, sometimes that’s what being creative is all about!
Try tackling it from a different direction
If creativity is freshness, you can use that mentality during the process as well as in the result. If you’re struggling with something, consider different angles of attack. A drawing foxing you? Turn it upside down and see how it looks. Difficulty coming up with the right way to describe something? Have a go at writing the last sentence: it may help inform those that come before.
This one comes hand in hand with some of the points made above. Creativity is the opposite of staid and dull. It is about a fresh perspective, a new lick of paint in a room, some unexpected seasoning in a dish. When engaged in any kind of creative process, try to make sure you are never sticking to the safe option, and avoid like the plague any suggestion of visual clichés. Celebrating the iconic is one thing, but failing to move forward does no-one any favours.
Look after your environment
No, I’m not being eco-friendly here (although that’s important too!) but your environment is key when you’re involved in creative design. The Danes are famous for loving good design and having it in their homes, which has been proven to add to their wellbeing as a nation, and for those who design for a living, surroundings are very important. A cluttered atmosphere can be stultifying, while plants, clean spaces and plenty of natural light all help to keep that creativity going.