This summer Mike and I spent a lot of time working on creative projects. Although we generally enjoyed ourselves, ideas did not always come easily. Creative ruts can kill your enthusiasm and your output.
In retrospect we had a few go-to methods for overcoming these mental obstacles. The tips below are by no means exhaustive, and may not work for everyone, but they definitely helped us get through some of our summer projects!
1. Get out of town or at least the house. A change of scenery can really help clear your head. As students, Mike and I don’t have a lot of spare cash or time to travel, but we like to take quick day trips here and there to recharge our batteries and check out new sights and sounds.
2. Time travel to the past and/or future (not literally, of course!) Try looking for inspiration in history and science fiction. I find these two genres are chock full of ideas that spark my imagination. Envisioning what life was like way back when or what life will be like in 100 years always helps reinvigorate our minds.
3. Unpack your likes and dislikes to better understand your interests. Ask yourself why you like or dislike certain things in order to gain some insight into who you are and what you want to produce as an artist. Looking at art you like (or dislike) can also inspire you to create something similar or something better.
4. Do a 180 by trying something completely different. Recently on a collage supply hunt, I randomly reached for a magazine I would never usually go for – a rural living-themed periodical circa 1971. Although it’s not my usual style, it ended up being one of my best finds so far. I found images inside that instantly sparked ideas for future projects.
5. Give yourself a free pass to create something imperfect. It’s important to remember that art is a creative process (emphasis on the word process). Things may take a while to come together or to look the way you want. Try not to let a fear of imperfection stop you from starting.