How are you all creative professionals doing?
Upon lockdown, most of the creative folks were elated about being at home and in their creative universe. Many have acknowledged the fact that they have been more productive and focused during the lockdown with their work and assignments. Learning new skills, reading, less distracted, practicing with focus, and more result-oriented. But on the other end, there is a professional murmur that keeps surfacing on work threads to online conversations that there is creative fatigue setting in.
Mostly for everyone, days after days of facing the same curtains and walls, besides the glittering screen emitting pixels via Cathode Ray Tube, is causing mental burnout. Quietly, creative fatigue is setting in, creating a powerful nostalgia for the social ecosystem that incubated them earlier. What follows is the famous “creative block. Then we realize that not all activity is equal to productivity and it requires a lot of patience to get your creative juices following at the best.
The is the same creative workforce, habituated to working in collaboration with multiple sources of inspiration. Collectively, they are now facing a common challenge; lack of direction and drying up of imagination. Missing the camaraderie and creative stimulus that different departments usually gave each-other while working together. Pushing personal boundaries, finding random sources, discussing the references to intrude on each other’s work with influence and chaos that usually resulted in an astonishing work product. More importantly, calling it the end of the day and going back home with dart satisfaction that the end of the workday brought to everyone. In the end, that feeling of a job well done, closing the to-do list, and leaving the workday with absolution.
We can’t quickly change and go back to our old system of work, but here are quick tips to get your creative juices flowing back again. Excerpts from my last read “Brief Lessons in Creativity” by Frances Ambler. Book is limited edition picked up at TATE MUSEUM, London ( Travel, which is undoubtedly one thing to look forward to amongst another post-Lockdown world )
Start — Just do it!
Good question, every time you hit the block, just DO IT by grabbing a pencil and paper. It helps in laying the blueprint and consolidating thoughts in one place. You can’t take the pen or pencil off the paper until your drawing is finished. Pick a random subject, put your nib to the paper and just go. Concentrate on the process and not the results. There is no stopping to rub out, but you can overlap lines and experiments with thinner or thicker strokes. If you’re a writer, pick any subject, your day or experience, and write on paper. Forget spelling, grammar, and construct. Just let the heart guide the hand.
Every time I hit a block on topics, I need to write I write book reviews, I explain the books to myself. I wrote poems to my daughters or scribble ideas.
How does this help?
“Doing” doesn’t always have to be physical — you can also let your mind go for a walk sitting at home. The mind is clogged, and it needs to be set in motion. Hence, the start is a must and follow the tread to whoever it takes you.
Develop a mindset, not minding.
It might not work, it will not lead to anything, but it is about trusting the process and being open to possibilities, rather forcing the mind to predetermined results.
A book talks of an interesting example of Leonardo da Vinci and creativity ”if you look upon an old wall covered with dirt or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies, etc. “ his advice is to seek inspiration from anywhere.
Locked up at home, take a walk to a terrace, if not look out of the balcony, find patterns in cloud, imagine life and conjure stories of that family living across the street visible from the window, imagine, and take cues for your next artwork.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
And practice everything you do; practice is the only way to improve and be better at what you do. If doing the same thing such as making art, designing, or writing a piece makes you bored, please stop it. Don’t get overboard with it. Creativity may come at 10th try, or 1100th try, but you won’t know unless you keep doing it.
Being better, improving, and practicing your art shouldn’t tire you.
Pursue creativity with utmost passion. Go into detail, look closely, be the critic, perfect the scene you are writing, the character you are writing about, and the design you are making or the concept you are working on.
Look then work. Review and re-review. Start from scratch if you need to.
Rethink your routine, reorganizing always sizzle up the monotony.
Mix up media, techniques, formats and create a mix in your work- something you have never done before. Take your action forward on a new horizon that you haven’t explored with your work until now. The designer can learn a new style, the writer can explore a new format or media to write, or the artist can imbibe a new technique. Creativity has no die-hard rules and works best when it is freed from all restrictions.
Make things as you go, or give it a break and close your eyes. It is all a part of the creative process. Fail, get up, and start again. The idea is to keep moving ahead.
The book beautifully outlines some great creativity hacks for art and artists of different disciplines. I have outlined a few of relevant pointers from it. Though, it talks of using travel extensively to collect experiences that enrich the creative process and work but let’s call that a skip and focus on other learning from it 🙂
Remember, you are not alone who is feeling this fatigue, but sure you can choose to fight it better.
Also, an important tip from my side which I found useful to implement; stay connected with your colleagues and the fraternity virtually. You may choose to brainstorm on certain compelling ideas and take their feedback. After all, collaboration has gained new currency during the lockdown.
Stay creative and keep creating or rather co-creating.
Authored by Khushboo Solanki Sharma, Founder of Zero Gravity Communications.