Creative blocks can be your worst nightmare. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting down to punch out a blog, complete a project, or even write an email, and realizing that your brain is not functioning. You have nothing to say.
We’ve all been there, multiple times. So what do you do?
We just got back from a trip to Jamaica. We went for business but stayed longer for pleasure. It was a fabulous trip and I’m bringing back great memories, a nice sunburn, and some wonderful relaxation.
I’m a great advocate of vacations. I used to go years at a time without taking any meaningful time off, but in the last year, I realized that’s a ridiculous notion. We all need a break. Our minds need a break. Our families deserve a break. And to be frank, our work deserves a break. We can’t give our best selves if we’re burnt out. So my question is, “Can your setting influence and inspire your content?”
Most of us work in an office day-in and day-out. Unless you work at Google or a similar company that creates an office space focused on creativity, your office probably isn’t very inspiring—white walls and cubes don’t do it for me. So how can you expect to write compelling content when you’re in an environment that is anything but compelling? The answer is simple, it’s difficult because creativity inspires creativity.
So what does that mean for you? If you’ve been stuck in an office for months on end, it’s time to breakout and do something else. You can’t always head to Jamaica, but you can talk to your boss and plan a work day in a better environment—especially if you have a big creative project coming up. Take a day and work at Starbucks. If that doesn’t work for you, at least take a long lunch and sit on a park bench or walk through a museum. It’s hard to keep going day-after-day with only more of the same. Add something different into your routine and watch as it spikes your creative juices.
At my previous company, before Kevo Writing, when I was working on a large project, I asked to work from home. Why? I needed a change of pace. The office was loud. It was distracting and it lacked the inspiration I was desperate for. So, I took a few days and I worked in my home office.
As you can see from the picture of my office, I have it set up to get my heart pumping, my brain flowing, and my inspiration going.
The treadmill keeps me moving. I have a hard time being creative when I remain completely stationary. There’s a reason why runners run—it clears the mind. And while I don’t run at work, walking helps in a similar way.
The window, reminds me that I’m not stuck in a dark hole with no way out. Through the window, I can peak into the backyard, watch my dogs play, and recognize that the sun is shining and life is good.
My favorite piece of my office though, is the plaque on the top left-hand-side of the picture. This is the true source of my inspiration. I ran my first marathon in January of 2015 and it was a huge accomplishment for me—a lifelong dream. I trained for months, it wasn’t easy, but I did it. Every time I see my medal and my picture of crossing the finish line, I’m reminded that I have the strength to do anything I put my mind to.
Why do I bring up my office and my marathon? Because sometimes you can’t take a long lunch or go on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find small ways to be inspired. Do you have an award from a great accomplishment? Maybe just a favorite picture of your family. Whatever you have that encourages you to keep going, put it beside your desk or your computer and look at it every day.
When you’re stuck and you are struggling to be creative, take five minutes and stare at your piece of inspiration. Really look at it. Let it dredge up all the feelings of joy, peace, and accomplishment that you felt when you originally took the picture or received the award, and then once you harness your inspiration, get back to it. Don’t let a creative block stick around.