We all get those days when we just aren't feeling it. When the ideas don't come and we just stare at a blank page. But what do you do if those days turn into weeks and feelings of inadequacy creep in more and more, perpetuating that feeling, and you are just paralysed by the lack of ideas. You struggle to get over the pressure to produce something (anything!).
I think this is quite normal for creatives and, well, all of us. You've that big presentation looming and you are just at a loss where to start so you don't which just gets worse. The good news is procrastination is actually a good thing – cue TED talk. And breathe.
My Dad gave me some great advice when I was a kid 'just start', write anything, draw anything, you can always come back to it later and refine it. Getting over that initial hurdle, that blank page is solving half the problem. Not matter how bad the writing or the drawing, you have done something. And the second piece of advice he gave me, the hardest pill to swallow, not every project will be your greatest masterpiece (that doesn't mean it wouldn't be good or meet the brief, it just won't be the one that gets hung on the wall).
Here are my seven steps to finding your spark:
- It's ok to procrastinate (phew) stop being so hard on yourself.
- Just start, make a mark. Refine it later.
- Reach out and talk to people, start a discussion on your problem, others may have a solution, and if they don't the discussion may just be enough to get your brain in gear.
- Sleep - yep I said sleep. Our best ideas come when we are drifting off. Plus you can't do anything well if you're exhausted. Find a babysitter, go to bed early, get in an extra nap.
- Do things that make you smile.
- Don't be so hard on yourself (I know I said it before but I think it needs its own step). We often avoid things because we don't know the answer (yet) or we think we won't be good enough, and the more we don't do it the more inadequate we feel and so our spark moves further out of reach. Be kind to yourself, buy yourself a present.
- I always think new stationery helps - but that's just a personal one.