You are deep in the middle of a complex project, racing to beat a tight deadline, and you’re stuck. Where do you find that creative spark? For me, the last place in the world is in front of a computer. I find that when I’m sitting at the computer, it’s time for perspiration, not inspiration. In other words, if my idea is already at least partially formed, I can get busy executing and problem solving. But coming up with a new approach? Never happens in front of a screen for me.
When I feel my inspiration running dry, here are a few things I try:
1) Get up from the computer and go outside. Even walking out onto the deck for a few minutes and stretching my legs can be enough for an “aha” moment. If the weather is miserable or I’m are stuck in a windowless room, just standing up and bending over to get some blood to my head is helpful.
2) Take hike and focus on being really present. Nothing better for clearing out the mental cobwebs than hanging out with Mother N. Becoming reconnected and grounded in nature revitalizes my senses and makes me open to seeing things in a fresh way.
3) Work out. For me, that means a yoga class. Clears my head, gets my blood flowing, makes me feel 10 feet tall.
4) Take a nap. The benefits of a short 20 minute doze are well documented. It doesn’t go over so well when working at a client site, but if I’m working in my edit suite, a short doze does wonders for my alertness and creative energy.
5) Talk to someone. I can get lost in my own little creative world – getting a little feedback from a colleague over the web can be invaluable, especially when I’m stuck.
6) Go see some art. Steal from the best, as they say: check out a museum, see a film, spend some time with kids making art – and let what you see infuse you and influence your work.
7) Banish the inner critic. If I’m feeling stuck on a project, it’s often because every time I start to have an idea, a little voice says “that’s no good!” – quite the killjoy. New ideas need room to expand and morph before the critical mind should be allowed to render a verdict. Not an easy thing to do if you have a strong inner critic like I do. The key is to become aware when it’s happening, relax, and let your ideas play out – even if they don’t feel “good”.
8) Simplify. When I’m hip-deep in layers and keyframes, I can lose the big picture – so sometimes I’ll just start a completely new project and pretend I’m starting from scratch. It’s surprising how quickly you can rebuild work and find new approaches along the way.
9) Look at nice work. Watch some TV to check out the ads. Check out some great title sequences at The Art of the Title . Check out the work of some great motion graphic artists over at motionographer. Check out something crazy like this movie. Or this amazing video.
10) Poke through Motion’s Library. With over 1,400 different elements, it’s likely there’s something in there that will get you thinking about a new approach you haven’t tried yet.
How about you? What inspires you?
For a little training inspiration, check out my Motion training DVDs at Ripple Training.