Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working - Pablo Picasso
I hate creative slumps. Often I try to block time out of the day to allow the creative juice to flow but sometimes it ends up being wasted time. However in other instances, creative ideas could hit us like lightning and we feel invincible. It does not matter if you are a photographer, painter, teacher, lawyer, doctor, or an accountant, we all can relate.
Facing the Wall
Whenever facing a challenge, ask yourself these two questions:
1) Why am I here?
2) How did I get here?
Sometimes the challenges we face were not meant to be our challenges to begin with. ‘
I am a big fan of mobile navigation, however I am not a fan using them in the Sydney CBD. When using a navigator in the city, my little blue icon spins like a disco ball and next thing I know it I just circled the city like a tourist. I actually end up farther than my actual destination. So here is where I can ask myself these two questions:
Why am I here?
I chose this navigator to lead me to my destination.
How did I get here?
The navigator is acting up and it is preventing me to reach my destination.
Answering the first question clarifies and/or solidifies your position. The second question brings to light the journey we currently are on. In my example, I can instantly identify the problem which is the navigator. The challenge I was facing with this application (cough Apple Maps cough) was a wall I did not have to face.
When in a creative slump, ask ourselves the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ and we may locate what needs to be changed to move forward.
Overcoming the Wall
Now that I have made the necessary change (to Waze), I was able to make it to my destination within 25 minutes. I remember someone once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. How often do we as creatives do the same thing in our approach in creating something fresh? To be clear, I am not advocating that we should disregard routines that work for us. On the contrary, I am proposing we should face our creative blocks in fresh environments.
I often find that when I attempt to brainstorm ideas for a photoshoot at home, the fridge calls my name and I often respond. It’s not easy everyone, I’ve been struggling with this for decades. It wasn’t until I came to Sydney, Australia that I realised that me and cafes get along just fine. Whenever I want a new idea, I go to a new cafe. What I produce in that short little time would equate to days worth of work at home.
This may not work for everyone, but it’s worth asking ourselves if our current workspaces produce ‘freshness’ in and through us.
The Wall Behind Us
“Creativity is connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
Gary Chapman wrote a really helpful book called, ‘The 5 Love Languages.’ It essential teaches that each of us have a ‘Love Language’ we respond to the best, and we naturally give a love language by default. He identifies the 5 love languages as:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
This helped me out tremendously to learn more about myself and to learn how to loves others more intentionally It was like a lightbulb moment. I didn’t see it before, but after I did, it became obvious what I needed to do.
‘…they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.’
I am a firm believer that once the wall is behind us, it will be obvious what we can do to make something memorable and meaningful. Reflect on your ‘Why’ and ‘How’, change your environment to somewhere new and watch your creative block become a creative outlet for you to reveal the colours of your world.