I mean read everything. Read poetry, history, fiction, non fiction, mysteries, magazines, blogs and newsletters, graphic novels and coffee table books.
2. Use physical tools (pencil, paper, etc.)
When you use physical tools like a pencil and paper to come up with ideas you will actually come up with MORE ideas and more ideas equals better ideas.
3. Learn to say no
When all you do is say yes, you have to say no to some level of your quality.
Eventually will spread yourself and ultimately your creativity thin. You become like Bilbo in Lord of the Rings: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring) When you can learn to say no you will be happier by not being over-committed and as a result, under-creative.
4. Diversify your creative inspiration
Much like you need to continuously drink water every day to keep your body hydrated, you need to constantly be refreshing your mind with new and interesting things that you can pull from.
5. Have a personal project
There’s something special that happens when you have a project to work on that your not being paid to do-everything changes. Most people have “brilliant ideas” that just pop into their heads from time to time. It could be something related to or seemingly out of left field for what you already do. For me those ideas come in forms of things I am already interested in or care about.
The passion project is all about doing something that just makes YOU happy. You do it for you and pour out your soul into it so you can just enjoy being creative.
Personal projects satiate those cravings for something truly exciting in our work that sometimes paid clients don’t give us the freedom to do.
You don’t have to think so much about all the “things” (rules), you just make stuff. You will feel good and be better at all of your other work when you give yourself the opportunity to just do what you want for a change. Doing something for ourselves is a little bit of happy.
6. Find beauty
There’s a reason artists throughout history have had a “muse”. Because beauty ignites our desires; desires for love and for some a desire to create.
It doesn’t have to be the obvious things though, beauty is whatever inspires YOU. Maybe it’s a Wes Anderson film or the sounds of a coffee shop.
7. Write things down
Stopping for five seconds to write your distractions down will take them off your plate for the immediate future, give you relief that you won’t forget about it if you don’t address it now.
It’s important to find people you can go to who will give you honest feedback. Not just people who will be jerks about it but give you constructive criticism and will encourage you.
9. Do something new
What do I mean by do something new? I mean, step out of your norm when it comes to your idea seeking process or even your creative process.
Trying new things brings a sense of wonder to your life and in turn, to your work.
10. Create an awesome workspace
The environment in which we live has the potential to inspire us or distract and discourage our creativity.
Make it yours, however small the space.
11. Know your own process
Having a process creates a place of reference, security, and stability for how you work.
Knowing your process contributes greatly to your happiness.I would say is one of the most important factors because it eliminates the stress and anxiety of losing your concentration or losing your way, not knowing why an idea didn’t work and having to go back to the drawing board.
12. Don’t do spec work
Don’t do spec work, it will just make you want to gouge out your own eye and no one wants to work with a one-eyed, cranky designer. A happy designer is a valued designer.