“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
- Maya Angelou
It’s 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night. You’ve been digging away for the past six hours and this might be your best work yet. You’re so close to breaking through -- then you hit a wall.
There’s not a single drop of creative juice left in your brain.
Does this sound like something you've experienced? If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Whether we’re designing, writing or brainstorming the next big idea, we’ve all experienced creative block. The predicament of the creative process is something all of us face, yet few take the necessary actions to overcome it.
Keeping our creative juices flowing isn’t about picking the perfect color on Photoshop or writing the wittiest line for your article. It’s an essential component to innovation -- professionally and personally.
Throughout our lives, we have been told to “think outside of the box.” But thinking outside of the box implies that our inner creativity doesn’t exist within us already. Finding inspiration isn’t about stepping outside of our box, it’s about stretching our limits.
At Sketchfab, we’re always itching to find new and unique ways to stay ahead of the creative curve. We’ve dug deep on how the most creative minds around the world keep their creative juices flowing.
Here are powerful ways you can begin to keep your creative juices flowing:
Stop, Drop & Roll: No, there’s no fire. Except the one we’re burning inside our head. What we mean is: Stop what you’re doing, Drop your pen, and Roll out of the building.
Most of us are sitting down, staring at a screen for eight-hours a day. Changing our current state of environment and breaking the routine is the quickest and most effective way to begin activating new parts of your brain.
Move your body: While you’re out of the building, why not get some exercise? According to Psychology Today:
“The creative process springs as much from the subconscious as it does from a conscious thought process. Most often, creative solutions are not wrestled from your mind through sheer force of will. Eureka moments tend to occur spontaneously, almost always when the conscious mind is thinking of something else, or nothing at all.”
Exercise allows your conscious mind to access fresh ideas that are buried in the subconscious. Go for a walk, run, or even try some yoga poses, as long as it’s keeping your mind off of the task at hand.
Write it down: Not all of us were gifted with a photographic memory. Since creativity is about linking the pieces of knowledge we obtain, keeping track of the information in our brain should be the first step.
Keeping track of our thoughts can help us develop our ideas further, by allowing us to return to it at a later time and build on top of it. Remember, it take dozens of revisions to form a good idea and hundreds of revisions to create a brilliant idea.
Writing is the best tool to achieve this. Best of all, it helps remove the clutter inside your mind, opening up room for new, creative ideas.
Put yourself in someone else’s box:
Good artists copy, great artists steal.
- Pablo Picasso
Often, the creative blocks we face are nothing but constraints set by our previous experiences, whether it’s an old memory, a particular smell -- it could be anything. By removing ourselves from our work and observing it from the lens of someone else, we can gain a different perspective we’ve never had before.
Take an existing project that you’re working on and try to see it from the perspective of someone you admire in your field. Go even beyond that and put yourself in the mind of a company or brand that you deeply respect.
How would it look, feel, and taste if they were to create it?
Get enough sleep: Making sure your brain and body gets the rest it needs is crucial for creative intelligence. A study done by University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates that sleep fosters the unusual connections we have from past experiences, or after we’ve learned something.
Making the connection between pieces of information that our daytime rational minds see as separate seems to be easiest when we’re drifting in the dreamworld.
This means that creativity doesn’t spur from entering a new dimension of thoughts or stepping out of any boxes. It’s from connecting the knowledge we already have.