Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for a creative in a permanent role is to keep those creativity levels high. Turning up to work, day-in-day-out, is not always conducive to staying inspired and innovative. Although many agencies go out of their way to design creative environments to keep their employees engaged, I’m not sure that creativity is something you can turn on or off.
Inevitably throughout your creative career there will be times when you feel unable to deliver ‘creativity on demand’, and whilst a freelancer might be able to take the day off and find inspiration by doing something different, the permanent employee may not have this flexibility.
However, if you can implement some or all of the ideas below, you will not only help reduce your chances of being stuck for creative inspiration, but will also have the tools to find it on those more difficult days:
Creative Communities and Collaboration
Fortunately for anyone who works at an agency in a perm role you already have an advantage over your freelancer counterparts: you are part of a community. Your colleagues are a potential wealth of creative inspiration as they come with their own unique experiences and approach to problems. Share ideas, learn from each other, talk late into the night…
If this is not the case in your workplace then perhaps you should start your own creative community, or find one to join. There are numerous online and offline groups that encourage a sharing of ideas, work and inspiration. Check out Creative Social events in London for starters.
Use creative communities not as a fall back when you are stuck for inspiration, but as part of your on-going professional development. This could involve regularly attending meet ups, or contributing to online forums, the trick is not to go looking for inspiration but to allow it to find you.
Collaboration is another great tool for keeping creativity levels high. Not just for finding solutions for the project you are collaborating on, but also for providing you with creative experiences you may be able to use in future work. If you are given the opportunity to collaborate with someone new, take it!
Create An Inspiration Board
Get into the habit of collating any inspiration you find online so you can refer back to it whenever you want. Pinterest is an obvious platform to do this and you could make it into a collaborative project by inviting your peers to contribute too.
Of course, you might not want to share your inspiration with others and therefore a more private approach is needed. You could even take this offline: radical I know! Mood, inspiration, vision boards, whatever you want to call them, are a real-life version of Pinterest and whilst they lack the interactivity of online boards, they are much more tangible and can include all sorts of real-life found objects and resources.
If you want to keep track of blogs and websites you find inspiring consider using a RSS reader like feedly.com. I think of my account as my own unique magazine with customised sections reflecting my interests as well as work related categories.
There are also numerous websites who are already collating inspiring creative work just for you. Have a look at the curated galleries on sites such as Behance.net.
Get Out In The Real World!
While the stereotypical creative genius is often portrayed as a reclusive oddball obsessed with their narrow area of expertise, in truth most successful creatives are lot better adjusted than this! Creativity and inspiration does not just come from studying your particular specialism excessively, they also comes from our interactions and experiences in the real world.
Socialising; being around creative people; going to museums and art galleries; getting out in nature; exercising; trying something new; reading books; going to the movies or theatre; all these things and more can help your creativity. They also enhance your permanent role; giving you the variety that some perm jobs cannot deliver.
It is a much better approach to open yourself up for creative inspiration than to actively go looking for it, so make these ideas part of your professional life so that you stay creative and inspired in your permanent role.
Have you got any ideas for staying creative in a permanent role? We would love to hear where your inspiration comes from. Please share your thoughts using the comments below.