If you're reading this, either you're experiencing a creative block, or you want to learn something new about inspiration and creativity. You landed in the right post at the right time.
It's time to boost our knowledge, so let's jump right into it. We will cover three main sections:
You may have shifted your career from something completely different. And you want to know where to get inspired. Or simply, you experience a creative block that happens when our brains shut us down to bring us back to our roots.
Bring yourself back to your early ages. When you asked so many questions that your parents were tired of you. You know better if you have kids. They want to try everything. Kids are creative without even knowing. That's what creativity is all about.
Our brain likes to solve problems. The more we mature, the more we lose our creativity because we fear what others think of us. Take kids as an example. They just don't care. Curiosity is the fuel of creativity. Easier said than done, but just give it a try. BE A CHILD AGAIN.
In the last year, I watched and learned from many designers on YouTube. One thing always came back: online inspiration. I may have missed on some who aren't like that, but for a moment, I thought that it was the only way, that it was the right way.
You go on Instagram, Behance, and Pinterest to gather inspiration for your next project. That's what everybody was saying. But I never heard this vital thing: diversification.
Doing it wrong can bring you into a whole infinite spiral of self-doubt, comparison, and perfectionism. I'm guilty of them all. The problem is apparent, consuming tons of content and seeing the work of more talented designers, our standards grow, but our skills are not at the same level. Doing what we're capable of is not considered enough anymore, for OURSELVES.
How to fix this? Go back to the old ways. There are many, many ways to do it. I will share what helped me surpass my creative block and develop my own inspirational process.
Get outside: I was capable of staying 10+ hours on the computer without going out. This is clearly the recipe for burnout if you don't manage well your time and productivity.
Travel: I travelled in more than 10 countries without the goal to be inspired in mind. One particular country that marked me was Japan. It helped me unlock my creativity in so many ways. I understood that simplicity and minimalism can be beautiful.
Power Nap: You really need to take this advantage if you have the opportunity to lay down for 10-25 minutes. I woke up with new ideas that I would never think of before.
Shower: I prefer a cold shower to clear my mind. It reorganizes my ideas, and I feel like a newborn every time I get out of it.
Read a book: I read my first book at 26 years old. This is by far the best way for me to get inspired. I mix between books and mangas. If you're already a book reader, try magazines and journals.
For more ways, I suggest you look at this interesting blog post where I got some inspiration for the current article you're reading.
The bottom line is that diversification is critical. Balancing between online inspiration and real-life inspiration will help you understand yourself better. You will know what to do when you experience a creative block.
It follows what we just learned. To unlock your creativity and get inspired, you need to break your routine and get outside your comfort zone. The only way to do it is to try new habits.
I don't advise you to start doing things you don't enjoy. We can't outsmart our brains, but we can change our perspective. If we want results, we must break bad habits.
For example, if you're going to lose weight, wanting it is not enough. You have to put in the effort. Therefore, you go to the gym, eat healthier, and start playing a sport. Because you know that any of these will help you achieve your goal.
The same rules apply to creativity. Knowing that there are several ways to unlock it is not enough. You need to put in the effort and start those new habits to achieve your goal.
Recommended book: Atomic Habits - An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Now that we know how to get inspired, it's time to learn how to gather that inspiration efficiently.
I tried many ways to stay consistent and disciplined with my work. But the more projects you have, the harder it gets. I discovered this strategy that helped me gather my inspiration and stay creative consistently.
Divide by category: For me, it is branding, logos, websites, and anything random that I feel inspiring.
I created a Figma Project named "Inspiration Board." Which contains my four categories previously denominated. And I add pretty much everything: Pictures, quotes, book screenshots, billboard ads, logos, photos, etc.
If I'm outside and I drive by an original billboard that can help me in the future for ad creation, logo, or website. I put it in all three categories.
You went to a restaurant, and you loved the design of their menu. Take a picture and add it to your designated category.
The options are endless. You can get inspired almost anywhere. Be aware of it. And just like that, you got yourself a new habit that will follow you in your creative journey.
I use Figma because it is versatile. I can access my file on any computer.
Feel free to use any method that suits you. I also created a photo album for each category on my phone, using the same principle. A straightforward but effective strategy that I use when my computer is not handy.
If an idea crosses your mind, write it right away. How many times has it happened to you that you forgot what you just thought of? I hope not that many but as busy as human beings are. We need to write our ideas immediately before it leaves our mind.
Journaling is an exciting habit that can help you unlock a new spectrum of your creativity. Imagine reading your 16 years old self. You know that you may trigger new ideas that you would never think of again. Start now. You will thank yourself later.
There is plenty of people on Instagram who clearly are thieves. They steal your work and claim it as theirs. There is no debate to have about them.
Understanding the real difference between inspiration and plagiarism can help you surpass your fear of uniqueness.
Inspiration is a feeling of enthusiasm you get from someone or something that gives you new and creative ideas. Source: Collins dictionary
In other words, you can develop new creative ideas with all the inspiration you gathered before. If you create something and you never saw the original work, how is that stealing? How can we determine who did it first? Let it sink in your mind for a bit.
On the other hand, plagiarism is the practice of using or copying someone else's idea or work and pretending that you thought of it or created it. Source: Collins dictionary
Being unique is great, but for god sake. Trying to always be original will not help you grow your creativity. You must understand that everyone is inspired by someone or something.
Why does anybody want to be unique in the creative industry? Those who don't want to always be unique are the ones who succeed. Let's take basketball as an example.
Did Kobe want to be the most original player in the NBA? The answer is no. He wanted to be the best at his craft. Kobe copied Jordan's moves and perfected them in his own style. Nobody blamed him for doing that. Steal from your heroes. Nobody will blame you for that.
I recommend Steal Like An Artist - 10 things nobody told you about being creative.
At this moment, I'm writing my reviews and summary of this book. It may be finished at the moment you read this. I will share it with you on my Notion Profile. You can have an overall idea about the book and all the sections summarized.
We can have ideas that are already taken or have already been thought of. But we can take many concepts and remix them in our own way, leading to new original ideas.
When I craft logos, I run a reverse image look-up on google to see if someone has already made a very similar logo to mine. And when writing blog posts, I use Grammarly Plagiarism look-up.
Thank you for making it this far. I hope that you learned something new and especially that you will apply what you learned.
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Atomic Habits - An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Steal Like An Artist - 10 things nobody told you about being creative
20 Ways to find creative inspiration