Inspiration – that elusive notion that could make you richer than Richard Branson in a bath full of £100 pound notes.
Yet, if you’re working in a creative industry, there are days when inspiration flows about as freely as a prisoner trapped in a cupboard in their cell.
You’ll stare at a blank screen, go make yourself a coffee, stare at a blank screen some more, check Facebook, check Twitter, check Facebook again, make yourself two more coffees, check LinkedIn, check Facebook again and then, only then, will you have a smidgen of an idea.
Without that flash of creativity, your job in design will be down the drain. You’ll be left begging on the streets, holding a sign which reads, “Will design for money”. It will be a beautifully designed sign with impressive calligraphy, but a beggar’s sign nonetheless.
So, what can you do to keep your brain pumping out idea after idea?
Record and inspire
Wordsworth would wander “as lonely as a cloud”, Dickens would stalk the streets of Victorian London and Orwell would live his stories then write them down. The great artists of our time stoked the creative flames by existing as passive observers in an active universe.
Take a leaf from their book and record the world around you for inspiration. With the rise of technology, people don’t even have to know you’re observing them.
A voice recording pen, for example, can be hidden in your shirt and used to keep track of every conversation or idea you utter. Listen back later and you’ll find more ideas than you know what do with.
Let the stream flow
It might seem a bit strange, but writing random gubbins like electric vowel man slide is actually a viable creative practice. It’s called stream of consciousness thinking – and it could be the key to your next great design.
Essentially, it’s the idea that writing a random assortment of words for long enough will lead to a freeing of the mind, allowing your ideas to coalesce and create one fantastic concept.
The great surrealists of history (Dali, Buñuel and Man Ray, to name just a few) founded this creative flow to break the barriers of traditional art – so who knows what barriers your art will break.
Sit back and relax
Those scenes in films about artists where some creative genius paints furiously don’t convey the true nothing that fills the majority of creative people’s lives.
To design something special, you have to whittle away at your craft for ages, try not to stress out and then, and only then, will true inspiration make itself known. Time is what you need. So sit back, relax and let inspiration flow naturally.