“This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
― Steven Pressfield
As the holiday season approaches and we look ahead to a new year, it’s important to continue to remain creative and innovative. Often time in nature or away from the screen is exactly what is needed to generate new ideas. Creative professionals can’t afford the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. Hobbyists and dabblers can get to work when they have the occasional great idea. For a pro, the challenge isn’t to paint a masterpiece every 20 years, it is to keep working when generating ideas becomes a challenge, insecurity and impostor syndrome set in, and creativity becomes harder to come by.
Here are a few tips to use in 2018 to stay productive and do your best creative work whenever you’re feeling challenged to generate new ideas.
Commit to a Daily Practice
The only way to consistently have good ideas is to consistently have a lot of bad ideas. That’s why it’s vital to have a daily creative practice that serves to clear out the psychological clutter.
The writer and investor James Altucher suggests writing ten ideas a day, every day – these ideas can be about anything, and they can be really out there, as long as you force yourself to keep coming up with them. Comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld sets a daily timer and forces himself to write until it runs out – most of this material doesn’t make it anywhere near his set, it’s the practice that separates him from the amateurs at open mic nights.
750 Words is one of several web portals that’s designed to reward a daily creative practice, regardless of the work quality. If you are an illustrator or designer, take up a similar practice of drawing one new sketch every day. This is the best way to keep your creative muscles limber and strong.
Join a Creative Community
It is important to be an active member of your local community of creative pros. This will give you a chance to share and test ideas, commiserate, and get a positive nudge when you need to keep going.
You can find groups of like-minded creative professionals on Meetup, or attend Creative Mornings talks in your city. If you don’t live near a creative metropolis, there are plenty of supportive social networks online, too.
When you identify as part of a creative tribe, you may feel a lot more secure in your work, knowing that others must overcome the same challenges as you and you can ask for help when you need it.
Respect Your Own Process
It may sound like a dream job to conjure up creative inspiration and play with new ideas every day for a living, however, it can be a real challenge if you aren’t in touch with your own mental, physical, and emotional rhythms.
To maximize your output, pay attention to your input. Take regular breaks, eat healthy and delicious food, and get plenty of sleep, even when you’re on tight deadlines. It’s worth making sacrifices to keep yourself in good condition.
To maximize your potential, pay attention to your own signals. Do you start strong in the mornings and taper off in the afternoons, or do you hit your stride in midday? Can you do deep, focused work for hours at a time, or do you prefer 55-minute work intervals staggered with five-minute water breaks?
As much as you can, let your work life move to your own inner rhythms. And mind the “taste gap;” sometimes, when you’re disappointed in your own work, it means your taste is improving, and you just have to keep applying yourself to reach new creative heights you never imagined before.
Talk to the Experts
At Artisan, we work with the top creative professionals in the business, and we’ve seen talent handle challenges and still produce brilliant work on a consistent basis.
When you’re inspired to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around. We hope you enjoy the 455th issue of our weekly a.blog.