Kick starting creativity during difficult times

Well, here we are with the end of 2020 in sight. What a year it’s been. For me it started badly when I lost my Dad after a short illness. I went from that straight into the pandemic.

Photo by Cristian Ruiz on Unsplash

I was lucky enough to have some projects on the go so I was able to carry on working through the early part of lockdown. In between those projects I cleared two borders in our garden, put some manure into the soil to enrich it and did some planting. It felt good to be in the garden in the middle of bird song. Most days a solitary Robin kept me company.

Unfortunately during this time I found myself really struggling for any kind of creativity. A lot of people tell you to get out into nature when this happens, when I did that I just wanted to stay there.

Experimenting with creative pursuits

I noticed from social media that I wasn’t the only one struggling. Other designers were having exactly the same problem. I can’t turn creativity on and off like a tap. Lifestyle changes or sudden events can impact it and it doesn’t always come back quickly or easily. Sometimes I need to gently work at getting it back.

At the time I came to the realisation that I just needed a bit of a rest and some breathing space so alongside my project work, I found time to experiment with other creative pursuits.

I created digital art with some new software I’d bought for the business. I got some refills for a fountain pen I’d inherited and did some ink drawings with it. I dug out my watercolour paints. I wrote some poetry and I started taking photos. All of this was just to try and get my creativity going again.

Making things just for fun

When you run a design business your creativity is obviously a key part of what you offer and that brings its own pressures. At times it can feel like is entirely associated with and purely for the purpose of fulfilling a business transaction. I found it liberating to make things just for fun where there was no brief involved and no pressure.

When I find myself in the middle of a creative block I try not to power through it. Doing that can be exhausting and counter productive. I try to make some time to rest and try out different things.

A combination of different creative pursuits got my creativity going again and it had the knock on effect of helping me to bring a new focus to my project work and my business.

If you’re in the middle of a block I feel for you, it can be pretty demoralising. It might be worth trying this approach. Step away from the day to day and try some things you haven’t done for a while. Don’t be too self-conscious about what you’re creating. The end result isn’t always the important thing, sometimes the process is what counts and what can get your creativity firing again.