Creativity is essential for many people, but the creative process is different for each individual. Staying in a creative mindset and channeling a flow of ideas can be challenging. For many freelancers, there is a risk of losing their creative edge as they are inundated with new ideas and a diverse workflow. However, if you do find yourself suffering from a creative block, it is possible to remove it by taking some simple action.
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Use a Notebook
Many freelancers are struck by their greatest ideas when they are out of their office. Rather than risk losing these precious ideas and to avoid a pile of dry cleaner tickets or napkins with illegible scribbles on the back, use a notebook. This should always be with you and kept exclusively for creative brainwaves and new ideas. This will provide a resource which you can refer to and by constantly jotting down new ideas, it will allow your subconscious creativity to be alert to possibilities and prepared to take action.
Try New Idea Creation Methods
If you are suffering from a creative block, why not try new idea creation methods. Brainstorming can be a great way to tap into your flow of ideas. Use a blank piece of paper with just the title of the project written at the top and write. Don’t concentrate on what you write down, but allow up to fifteen minutes to write down whatever comes to mind. If you are still struggling, answer the questions; who, where, what, when, why and how? Use an alarm or timer to alert you when the time is up, then walk away from the page for a couple of minutes before you review the ideas. You can select the best ideas for your current project, but don’t discard the rest; you may find that some of your ideas will be perfectly suited for another project.
Mind Mapping is another great way to allow the ideas to flow. This is essentially a diagrammatical process which creates a visual format for ideas, relationships, themes and words. You can use this strategy by itself or use it to organize your ideas from a brain storming session. It will allow you to link themes and ideas, visualizing the relationships and allowing the idea to develop. You can also take advantage of mind mapping applications and software which allow you to explore quick creative idea development when you are away from your office.
Break Your Routine
Working in the same repetitive way is a very common cause of a creative block. So, taking a break from your routine can allow you to shake up your working day and explore working or relaxing in a different way. Why not take a break to experience a different creative muse. Look for inspiration in different cultures or mediums such as art galleries, watching world cinema films, reading a book or visiting a museum. This will not only allow your mind to relax but will allow you to absorb elements of creativity which can inspire your creativity in a unique way.
Discuss Your Ideas
Sometimes, creativity blocks are caused by being trapped within your own thoughts. Discussing your ideas and themes with another allows you to assess the qualities and creative value of your ideas and gain a different perspective. By allowing someone into your idea creation process, you will have access to a creative sounding board which can improve the flow of ideas and rekindle your creativity. You could also try a group brainstorming session which will increase idea flow with the different variety of perspectives and personalities influencing the ideas and themes.
You don’t even need to discuss your ideas with colleagues or peers. Many freelancers are reluctant to do this as they fear giving away their secrets and creative genius. However, a general discussion with a non-professional can also have value. Don’t restrict yourself to people that you feel may comprehend your ideas, as you may be surprised at the amazing perspective children have with their blunt out of the box ideas, which could unlock your creativity.
Build a Creative Work Environment
Sometimes our surroundings can actually sap our creativity. Try to assess where you feel most creative and emulate this in your work environment. However, don’t be restricted to your office space, if you find your ideas flow more quickly when outdoors; create an environment to facilitate this. Ensure that wherever you choose to work, it is free of distractions and you have access to all the equipment or tools you need.
Customize your Schedule
One of the greatest things about being a freelancer is control over your own work hours. Take advantage of this to customize your schedule to suit your creative flow. Every individual has a time of the day when their mind is optimized for the idea creation process. This may be first thing in the morning or late at night, but by identifying when you feel at your most creative will allow you to customize your schedule to maximize the potential of your creativity.
Don’t forget to make time in your schedule for breaks and exercise. These types of break are essential for keeping your physically healthier and allowing you to clear your mind and refresh your thought patterns. Don’t allow your peak in creative potential to be wasted on mundane activities such as administration and paperwork. These activities should be scheduled in for another time of the day to ensure the time of your creative peak can be well used to create ideas.
Promoting a feeling of confidence in your themes and ideas will actually allow them to be carried a long way. Even those ideas that you are not completely certain are perfect can provide surprising responses when they have been presented with complete confidence. Although you want to promote confidence, you will need to walk the fine line between confidence and over confidence. Every successful freelancer learns to temper the conviction and strength of their ideas with the recognition of when ideas are not working properly and need amending or to be re-thought.
Exercise your Brain
It is surprising how many people neglect exercising their brain, but it is a major component to improving your creativity. Imagine attempting to run a marathon without physically training beforehand. In much the same way, you need to exercise your brain to stimulate your creativity. This type of exercise could be anything activity from crosswords through to brain training games. This will allow your brain to be completely stimulated and receptive to new ideas.