I once had a manager who was fond of saying that creatives just “threw a switch” to be creative. He was under the misconception that like his paper-pushing gig of no real consequence (for which he picked a stupidly outsized salary), being creative was a 9 to 5 thing. Yeah. Needless to say he and I didn’t get on too well.
The point I’m getting at is that as any creative will tell you, being creative can be a painful process, especially when in pursuit of a solution to a business problem. It’s not an on/off thing…well, not the kind of on/off you have any control over. Sometimes it fires like a 21 gun salute; other days it’s more of a whimper than a bang. Unfortunately, as creatives, most of us struggle to switch off from the work, choosing instead to crack on through those dry periods hoping that something will turn up. In fact, I know if I don’t make a conscious effort to switch off, I’ll probably burn myself out PDQ.
So here are a few suggestions for those of you who may be finding it difficult to switch off (they work pretty well for me):
- PS3: or similar. Seriously, few things are better than laying waste to bunch of homicidal alien super-soldiers. Maybe it’s because after a day of creating, there’s something so satisfying in destroying something.
- Comedy: stand up comedy is a great antidote to burn-out (and if you’re in the ad-biz, you gotta get your hands on Bill Hicks). Eddie Izzard, Richard Pryor, Katt Williams, Russell Peters, Sarah Silverman… These guys will take your mind off your stress and give your serious side a break.Or you can just catch up with the Looney Tunes or The Marx Brothers.
- Kids: I don’t like kids but if you get lucky and happen to watch one throwing a tantrum, just take a look at its folks – and think how lucky you are (unless it’s you with the screaming brat, in which case I’ve probably laughed at you. Thank you).
- Cats: Nothing troubles a cat. They’ve got this meditation thing down. Yeah, it looks like they’re sleeping but they’re just on another plane of enlightenment. That’s why they don’t chase sticks,
- Sex: probably the most creative of all pastimes. Switch off your mind and fire up your senses, your soul and your body. Engage in that moment fully. Trust me, the creativity will follow.
There you have it. A few ways to break out of the creative rut or get back on track. Got any suggestions of your own? Holler back in the comments…