It’s just not happening. You’re sitting at your desk staring into the middle distance, waiting for an idea to coalesce before your eyes. Minutes go by, then hours and finally, it’s getting dark outside and your document / canvas / spreadsheet remains blank. We’ve all hit the creative wall… and that goes for the folks at companies like Facebook and Google. So what do they do to recharge their imaginations?
TechCrunch has an article up where Google artist Aaron Koblin, Nicholas Felton, a designer at Facebook and Square’s creative director Robert Andersen talk about their methods of mentally rebooting.
Koblin is of the opinion that you should write down your interesting ideas, no matter where you have them. He also recommends committing “quotes, films, technologies” to paper — basically anything that “inspires you”. While you won’t be penning entire film scripts or a breakdown of your iPhone, it’s fair to say watching a flick or using your phone might generate an odd thought, one that might be worth keeping.
For Felton, travelling proved an effective ointment for his creativity:
In 2005 I spent five weeks travelling with an around-the-world ticket, and in 2007 I went to China, Tibet, and Nepal for three weeks. After both trips, I returned to my desk filled with thoughts and initiative to create.
If you don’t have the luxury of jumping on a plane, both Koblin and Felton suggest getting out of the office. Felton believes asking yourself to “brute-force” a creative problem is not the right approach, while Koblin reckons the “physical world is ultimately the source of all inspiration. Which is to say, if all else falls: take a bike ride.”
Andersen’s tack is more straightforward and structured:
Using constraints and understanding as a foundation, you should then execute as many variations you can within those bounds. There are limitless ways to tackle a problem both functionally and aesthetically, which is why you need to uncover a wide spectrum of possibilities to see what feels right.
Not everyone can leave the office when a creative drain strikes. In that case, Andersen says to create as many options as possible. While none of them mightn’t be any good, the process itself could get the brain juices flowing again.
A Tech Way Around “Creative Block” [TechCrunch]