Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Creative juices running dry?

Ah, the complexities of Interior Design! On one hand, you have to optimise the outputs of your “right brain” to develop creative solutions that will wow your clients, yet on the other hand, you’re pushing your “left brain” to effectively plan and execute their interiors projects.

Keeping the creative juices flowing can be a major challenge in a world of increasingly demanding clients and time pressures.

You could fill your library with encyclopaedias by De Bono, Feynman, Clegg etc. and/or do a PhD in brainstorming; however there are fortunately some far less onerous ways to stay fresh and keep your creative juices flowing.  Here are but a few:

Ditch your day job - get out of the office, ignore your to do list, hold the phone.  Block out time (yes, actually schedule time) to think, imagine, dream and get into a creative flow.  It doesn't have to be all day - a few hours on a regular basis can be invigorating and invaluable.  It's very hard to get into "the flow" while you are being interrupted or distracted by the usual demands of the daily routine.

Practise, practise, practise - creativity is not just the domain of artists; it is a skill that everyone has the potential to develop.  The brain is like any other muscle in your body.  The more you use it, the better and stronger it will become - so dedicate time for regular practise.

Beam yourself up - to a different stratosphere.  Put yourself into a different space mentally and/or physically.  Go somewhere different (library, beach, gallery, cafe); talk to different people; read different stuff; go to a thought provoking seminar or show; write a poem; do the cryptic.  All of this will help you to break out of your familiar patterns of thought.  J K Rowling was on a train journey from Manchester to London when the idea of Harry Potter popped into her head!

Sleep on it - the subconscious mind is an extremely powerful tool and can play a major role in problem solving.  Parking a problem and getting a good night's sleep can result in startling clarity.  Dreams (night or day) can also be great source of inspiration.  The melody for the Beatles hit "Yesterday" came to Paul McCartney in a dream.

Ask for help - most people are more than willing to help with a sticky challenge.  Ask your colleagues, suppliers, friends & family for their thoughts and ideas.  Another perspective can be invaluable.  Don't necessarily expect the answer but perhaps a pointer to take you in the right direction.  At designers' collection we are suggesting creative ideas and solutions for Interior Designers and their clients on a daily basis.  If in doubt, ask for another perspective.

Adopt some favourite techniques - there are endless simple-to-use techniques for generating creative ideas and solutions.  Brain storming & mind mapping are a couple of my favourites.  Your local library will have several books with easy to learn techniques to stimulate creative thinking.  Add a few to your "tool box" and you'll be surprised what can be achieved using them regularly.

Do it regularly - creative idea generation and problem solving are not something you do at the start of the year and then forget about.  Commit an appropriate time (when you feel fresh and at your creative best) to do this on a regular basis.  As I said previously, practise will help.  Although it may seem contradictory, creativity needs discipline.

So before doing anything else, ring fence a creative space in your diary in the next two weeks.  Ditch your usual workspace and get those creative juices flowing.

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