Working in any creative position may be hard sometimes, because even though you can have years of experience, when inspiration is not by your side it becomes a real problem.
No matter if you write, design or code (or anything which requires creating something out of nowhere, from power points to business reports), there’s a quote by a famous Spanish painter which I love, and I want to share with you:
“La inspiración existe, pero tiene que encontrarte trabajando”
Which translates to something like:
“Inspiration does exist, but it has to find you working”
The guy who said that was Picasso, so surely there must be something we can learn out of it. Getting a brilliant light bulb on the top of your head most of the time won’t happen, so if you’re stuck in whatever project you are, bear with me:
1. The hardest thing on a project is starting it. Stop thinking and take whatever tool you would need to use for do it and start working on it actively.
2. Sketch, write down the first thoughts you might have, try to build a simple structure of any kind… Having something is better than having nothing and good ideas grow from previous ones. Seeing something on the screen or on the paper and having your thoughts in front of you might switch on the next step.
‘Stop a minute, I had already done those things before starting reading these article and I’m still completely stuck’ Fair enough, let’s see what else you can do:
3. Do some research, see what other people have done before. Coming back to our Spanish friend:
“Un artista copia. Un gran artista roba”
‘“An artist copies. A great artist steals.”
Reinventing the wheel is impossible, and whatever you’re doing is either an adaption of something which has been done before or is based on to something else. Beware with this, I’m not saying you should do exactly the same as someone else has done, that would be stupid, disrespectful and surely illegal. But if you try to do something exactly as someone else has done before of you, as long as you don’t try to make a profit out of it, in the process it will take you to do it, you will learn new skills and resources which will help you to become better at whatever you do. And again, you might start thinking: ‘I’m going to do exactly this’ but once you start you might find you can explore a different path and create something unique.
4. Don’t try to be the best and enjoy the ride. Most people won’t ever do a lot of things because they think they are not good doing them. And they know that because one day, they tried to do something but they fail miserably as they couldn’t meet their high expectations. So be gentle to yourself and accept that whatever is you’re trying to do, if you have never done it before, it’s going to suck. Surely the next one will do too, and the next, and the next. But if you set yourself small goals, you’ll see how little by little you get better and better. People are not born knowing how to code, they learnt.
5. Lastly, and completely opposite to the first tip of this list, take a rest. Whenever timelines allow it, and if you have already tried the previous points, sometimes the best thing to do is not doing anything. Go and have a coffee, talk to a colleague or take a walk. You’ll be surprise how approaching a project with a clearer mind can help to see it from a new point of view.
If anything of these hints work, here you have three techniques to generate new idea and boost your creativity