LISA MALTBY
LONDON BASED ILLUSTRATOR & LETTERING ARTIST

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Welcome to my blog where I post about all things creative, from my latest food illustrations, design work and hand lettering doodles, to articles about freelancing and creativity. I hope you like my posts.

Tips for thinking of ideas when you just don't feel like it.

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Do you ever get stuck in a rut with creative projects, or with thinking of ideas? That’s me at this present moment in time - I’m trying to be creative, trying being the operative word. It’s like ‘writers block’ - sometimes the ideas just don’t seem to flow and you are left with 2 options; a) persevere until you think of something and gain inspiration b) throw in the towel for a day. Now I personally think that neither option is a particularly good one, a) because you can’t force creativity, it has to be inspired, and b) because if we only did things we 'felt’ like doing we would not get very far at all. My question then: can creativity become a discipline and at what point do you force it? I personally think that having a lifestyle of creativity can help prevent you reaching the 'writers block’ syndrome so often. Here are my tips for encouraging creativity when you just don’t feel like it:

1). Are there any barriers stopping you being creative eg. tiredness, hunger, something else on your mind? Can you deal with it; take a nap, eat a sandwich, deal with the issue? It may be once you’ve got to the source of your lack of inspiration you can then deal with it to free up thinking space. It may be this even takes an hour or two, even a day, but depending on the urgency of your project it’s always best to postpone a project rather than rushing into it half heartedly.

2) How do you feel about the project? Is it that the initial brief does not inspire you? Try to brainstorm ways around it to make it suit you better, try thinking a little differently. Ask other people for their take on the project and see if they can help you think in a new way about it and give you any fresh ideas.

3). You can’t always muster up inspiration yourself, you often need to look externally to feel inspired. Go and look at other artists/writers/musicians… work and find stuff that you connect with and can learn from. You could even create a journal or pin things on your wall of things that inspire you to refer back to.

4). Cultivate a lifestyle of creativity: try walking a different way to work, change your daily routine slightly or eat something you haven’t tried before. Doing things a little differently can re-train your brain to think outside the box easier and will encourage creative thinking in other areas. 

There will always be times when you just don’t 'feel’ like doing something, which is okay and shouldn’t necessarily dishearten you. It depends what the project means to you as to how you persevere with it - it may be that a recurring lack of motivation means that it may not be what you should be investing your time in. On the other hand, even the most driven people will have days when they want to have a pyjama day, it doesn’t mean that the drive is gone forever, sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.

If all else fails, go and make yourself a cuppa. That’s my default solution to everything ;)

If you have any suggestions as to how to think creatively please share your tips on this blog or my facebook page! :)