Just what is creative flow and how will you know when you’ve found it? Many dusty thesis and theories have been written on this topic. But for the purposes of this article, creative flow is that period of time when you’re working on your project, time is flying by but you don’t notice, difficult challenges feel effortless and you feel like you’ve found your groove. You power through stumbling blocks and you achieve the maximum amount of work in less time. Better still, the work you produce is good. It’s more than good, it’s great! It could be a whole day, or it could only be for a moment. That’s creative flow.
Sounds awesome, right? We’ve all experienced periods of creative block, and it can be pretty depressing. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be more productive more often. We’ve put together some advice on how to maximise your chances of experiencing creative flow more often.
1. Get organised
It sounds anti-creativity but a little planning and organisation can do wonders for your productivity. Plan what you’re going to do ahead of time, that way you can start working with a clear idea of what you’re going to achieve. It doesn’t even need to be anything in depth, a simple mind-map or some bullet points will do.
2. Let bad projects die
This is a familiar scenario in every creative studio. You’ve spent ages on a project, and it’s not working. It’s just not coming together in the way you’d hoped. You’ve put in loads of time and effort, but still it’s not going right. What you should do is scrap that project and start again. But what most people do is keep plugging away at it in the hope that it’ll somehow miraculously work. It won’t, and this is a surefire way to creative block. It’s really hard to give up on a project that you’ve invested so much time in already, but sometimes it has to be done.
3. Have a good environment to work in
The space you work in can affect your ability to be productive. The right environment varies for everyone but many people find they need somewhere without distractions. Be strict about this. Turn off your phone, log out of Facebook, switch of the TV. If you have a private room to work in, all the better. Some people can’t even work with music or the radio on, so if you’re struggling to concentrate, try total silence. If you like listening to music while you work, it might be worth experimenting with different styles to see what helps you enter that creative state. Similarly, it can be really good to switch up your environments. Try working in a park or library.
4. Take a break
If you’re struggling to get into that creative flow, the worst thing you can try to do is force it. Instead, leave your studio and take a break. Make a cup of tea, look out of the window, go for a walk, do some exercise, read a chapter of your book, do ten minutes of meditation. Do anything that takes your mind completely away from the creative task. You’ll be surprised at how the ideas flow once you stop forcing your brain to come up with things.