log-in   |   sign-up


September 5, 2010

Creative juices just aren't flowing?

Let's be honest, we all have days where it's difficult to be creative. Distractions, emotions, the weather or a good TV show can wreak havoc on creative pursuits. What do you do when you can't seem to find a creative groove that yields amazing results? We look forward to hearing how you cope and ultimately get through a creative slump. Let's help each other find ways to break out of the muck and get back to being what we were all born to be. Creative.

Participation is caring. Share your thoughts and help shape the dialogue in a meaningful way. Your contribution makes all the difference in building a stronger Design is Love community.

08.22.10 / 10:08 PM
We're the first to admit that sometimes, we feel like we just can't get it right.

A fail-safe way for us to break the slump is to speak up. Ask for help. Quietly getting frustrated and spinning wheels never, ever yields good output. Here at Design Is Love we turn to each other and ask for help. Collaboration is our remedy for the illness that is creative blockage. We look forward to hearing what you all have to share. And if you ever need help getting out of a slump, get inspired by reading a few archived inwords articles...or drop us a line.
08.24.10 / 9:44 AM
Agreed. Asking for help is always a great way to get the creative mind flowing. I often find that researching is a good way to get my mind going. Research could be a book, online, or even in a park. I am inspired by the things that I see. Sometimes I just need a little shove to help get my focus on track.
08.24.10 / 1:21 PM
I like to crack open some reads from older generation masters to get back to basics. It's easy to lose sight of simple principles in such a digitally overrun world. I also step away from the computer and only use my sketchbook and number two until I feel like I'm back on track.
08.24.10 / 1:22 PM
And a glass of wine can help to.
08.25.10 / 6:05 PM
The only slum I've ever had was when I've been distracted. In those situations, here's what works: clean my desk. If that doesn't work... pretend that playing my guitar is really work. When all else fails... shutting off the internet, turning off the phone and moving my computer to another room always seems to do the trick. Pacing on high surfaces (the more precarious, the better!) is an important component of my anti-blocking routine (not much of a de-blocker, however).
08.26.10 / 6:06 PM
For me I normally need to go outside and just walk around. The fresh air and not being in front of the computer screen is what does the trick I think.

@DesignIsLove -- totally agree with asking for help and collaboration, at school its great cause there are always people around for feedback in the studio
09.01.10 / 12:25 PM
Research. Reading.

The problem with that is that there isn't always enough time. I do find that if I'm not inspired by something it's probably because I don't know enough about it.

Going outside helps me relax but it doesn't keep me focused. I start thinking of being outside and not designing and living on a farm.

Collaboration is key.
09.02.10 / 9:48 AM
I ask myself, am I really stuck? Sometimes we think we’re stuck or we want to think we’re stuck but we’re actually on track and just don’t know it. Some paths are inevitable. Remember, a rut is also a groove.
09.02.10 / 9:51 AM
1. walk away from computer immediately
2. put some music
3. get some fresh air
4. look at some art books
5. drink cold glass of water
6. do anything, but design-related
7. pet an animal
8. take a nap (rec.)
09.02.10 / 2:50 PM
01 = recognition + embarrasment + anger + resentment + fear + humility + loneliness

02 – 04 = repetition of step 01

05 = brood

06 = release via walking, crying, drinking, talking or a combination of all releases

07 = search for some music that will improve current outlook

08 = abandon music and search for silence

09 = take deep breath(s) + think about my wife & the beach

10 = remember that love is abundant

11 = understand that it isn't what it seems

12 = move on / re: genesis
09.03.10 / 6:50 AM
Another strategy that works when I don't have the time to cut myself slack: I imagine massive ramifications of failure (we will be living on the street; my boys will loathe me for not providing; my colleagues will shun the practice; my clients will brand me with the scarlet "L" across my forehead for all other clients to see; the repo, repo, repo, repo, repo man). Though I prefer less scary tactics, this one does work like a charm—and it does so instantly.

I find protracted blocks to be an indulgence... a kind of laziness where I need the outside world to coddle me into doing my job. I believe in collaboration—it makes things better and takes solutions to places I wouldn't have imagined myself. It also brings a tremendous warmth and support to the process—the YES! consensus that can offer a lot of confidence in moving forward. It also creates environments where deeper, more sustainable growth can occur. But when it comes down to it, in the commissioned creative industry, I have to be able to flip the switch on when it needs to be flipped on. Knowing this fact displaces the personal "fear" associated with not coming up with a creative solution—which can be immobilizing because creativity links to our inner child and who wants to pressure that guy? Instead, the fear gets associated with the greater context: fear of the consequences of not doing my job.

I initially felt awful about sharing the above on "Design is Love", in that it appears to be lacking in love and other pink stuff. And then I thought about it and decided that angels are blessings whatever their forms. I look at the mire in Claudia's illustration above. No pink gossamer cherub would get me out of that mess—it would take one fierce, bad ass, swoed-wielding angel to do the job.

Also: I've been self-employed for 6 months shy of my entire career. Early on, I learned to factor in the time I need to come up with at least serviceable inspirations, while developing my thinking to take less time to engage with each new assignment. It really has helped a lot more than I can say.
09.03.10 / 9:13 AM
It usually helps me to do anything but design. Usually drinking and trying to find inspiration in something outside of my narrow bubble helps. Even if that comes from a drunk conversation with a couple of friends. I believe in the creative power of booze!
09.03.10 / 10:38 AM
@JoshuaLong curious Josh, are you drunk right now? hahaha
09.04.10 / 6:15 AM
If I run into a creative muck it's definitely in the execution stages. I find the concepting portion of a project to be liberating, open and non-defined: that's happiness. When the big idea transitions to something actual and material there can be a bit of hesitation.

If the project isn't going as anticipated and I'm not thrilled with the creative execution I take a step away: walk around: make a cup of tea: talk to one of my office mates: stare at a photo of my wife / daughter: return to my desk and take a deep breath: start designing again. The break helps me refocus on what inspired me in the sketch, because it always starts with the sketch.

If all else fails, I leave it alone, go to sleep and come in refreshed the next morning.


We'll post the topic to start the conversation. Where it goes is up to you.

Sunday t Sunday

Most loved discussions:

Most recent discussions:

Browse the archive

Connect with us. Facebook Twitter