It happens to the best of us. You are not sure what creative path to take and you feel stuck in place. Your client is still not loving your design comps. “I’ll know it when I see it,” was their only consistent feedback. The proverbial cement sneakers are drowning your creativity in lake Michigan.

You are in need some special sauce to invigorate your work. Not necessarily Sriracha, or General Tso’s, although those are yummy. You need some of that je ne sais quoi special sauce that ignites creativity and problem solving. Below are 5 trusty methods for triggering some of that spark.

Embrace your naiveté

What if you had never played drums and someone handed you some sticks, pointed to a kit and said “go for it!” What if you had no guidance? How would you hit the drums? What sort of beat would you create? This can be applied to your work. So what if you don’t know anything about a particular subject? Sometimes jumping into the deep end opens up new solutions that aren’t hampered by restrictions or rules. Fire at will with new solutions to the same old problems. Find a path that you really like, you can worry about refinements later.

Trust yourself and Commit

Trusting yourself is crucial to success. Whether embarking on a solution to a design problem, a solution to a business issue, or a solution to a life problem, you have put thought into your options, weighed them and made considerations. Now choose your path, embark full force and the details will emerge on their own. If you try solving a problem and your focus is not on what you are doing, you will have a much harder time solving the problem. Lose yourself in your work. You are allowed to make mistakes. That is how we learn. Relax and don’t be too harsh on yourself.

Invest

Your mind is a sponge and you have the ability to do with it whatever you wish. Do something new that can contribute to your creative success. Investing in yourself could be as simple as going for a long walk everyday.

Live a creative life

Whether on your way to work, eating lunch, or high stepping on an elliptical machine, there is some sort of predictability to your routine. Next time you are in robot mode, look around. Find new details in your familiar environment that you have never considered or focused on before. Perhaps try a different route to work. Maybe you could ride your bike, or take the train. Small changes can pay huge dividends in your creativity. During your new commute you will find new and more interesting perspectives that unfold themselves to you. Views you couldn’t see sitting behind the wheel of your vehicle.

Befriend an expert

An expert can guide you if you are stuck, or open up new ways of approaching the same old problem. If you are an experienced rock guitarist, take a lesson from a classical guitarist. If you are a classical pianist, try sitting down with a blues cat. Graphic designers can pick up ideas from watching drawing and illustration videos on YouTube.

Images by Kenny Louie and ja:利用者:多摩に暇人 [CC BY 2.0]

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