Guest Post by Kristin Rock of Inkwell Creative
When I worked for a marketing agency, we had department happy hours pretty regularly. I remember the jokes. The late nights. The energy. We would also go on creative retreats where we would talk about our process and our inspiration. But then I quit the agency and worked as a consultant. Solo. At home. And though I had more time to myself, the creative excursions stopped.
Now when I feel my inner bank of ideas is running low, I have to create my own fuel. It turns out laughs and late nights aren’t the only way to recharge. Here are five techniques that keep me going:
Get out. It’s hard to take creative work outdoors but I try to step out mid-day and again after work to water the plants on my patio or walk the dogs. Sometimes I’ll step out during winter with a cup of coffee. On the weekends I plan to be outdoors all day, hanging out a winery with a view or taking a drive to run errands. The objects, shapes, landscapes, colors, and sounds are like balm for my brain, instant relief from Zoom fatigue, and a reset after hours of editing.
Leave home. If going outside boosts your energy, then traveling is like plugging in to a power plant. There’s endless inspiration that comes from navigating a new place, ordering new food, talking with different people. Even a day trip to another city can show me things in a different light, sparking ideas and balancing all of the time spent in my home office.
Create a routine. Being creative on demand can be challenging. It helps to block schedule your days. By earmarking uninterrupted hours each day to focus on a project, there’s time to settle into a creative mindset, especially if you can go without email or meetings. A routine can help you prep mentally to focus too.
Challenge yourself. I’m more of a recluse than I like to admit, but I purposely don’t turn away from experiences that take me outside my comfort zone. Finishing them builds confidence and struggling gives me a good reason to reach out to others for help or advice. Stretching my boundaries creatively makes me better at my core services and gives me new tools to work with. I filmed a vlog recently for a nonprofit that I support and doing it was thrilling.
Kill the routine. I know I just advocated for block scheduling, but there’s nothing as exhilarating as chucking aside your normal schedule to do something spontaneous. Or changing up how and where you work. My family has a beach house and working there – at odd hours and in hidden corners has resulted in some of the best work I’ve produced. Off of my routine and out of my element, ideas flow differently and I’m more willing to take a risk.
As a creative-product producer, fueling your creativity is vital. Self-care is an investment in your business and an essential ingredient for quality work. I love taking classes, visiting museums and galleries, and collaborating with colleagues – but I don’t always have the time or resources for those kinds of creativity boosters. If you find yourself similarly crunched, try to change up your work day – in one of these five ways – instead.
About the Author
As a Communications Strategist and Writer, Kristin Rock helps brands find their true voice and make an impact. She creates content for digital assets, social media, campaigns and collateral, and specializes in ghost writing for executives.
Kristin’s experience with national and global organizations sets a high standard for all of her work. She has been recognized for her contributions to projects for Booz Allen Hamilton, Modzy, Allegis Group Services, Applied Physics Labs, Indian Health Services, ExxonMobil, HCA Capital Region Hospitals, the Office of Personal Management, the State Department, NASA and many small, local businesses and nonprofits.