If you’re reading this article with your head in your hands, surrounded by pieces of scrunched up paper which hide discarded ideas, we hear you. Writer’s block, a creative slump, stuck in a rut… Whatever you want to call it, your comfort zone can be extremely limiting and frustrating if you let it.
We’re here with a few simple tricks to help you break out of your creative comfort zone, free your mind, and let those great ideas flow.
Give fear the creative middle finger
We only need to scroll through Instagram or Twitter for five minutes to find, nestled amongst myriad other motivational thoughts, these infamous pearls of wisdom from thought-leading author, Roy T. Bennett:
If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.
Roy’s right – how can we possibly grow, adapt or develop if we always go for the easy option? Fear is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to sticking with what’s comfortable and often, we wrap this up using other excuses like “there isn’t enough time for that” or, “it probably won’t work anyway”.
If we want to transcend our creative comfort zone, it’s up to us to be honest about what are genuine reasons for avoidance, and what is just plain old apprehension or fear of change. Then, and only then, can we start to build up the courage to fight against it.
Do the daunting things
Speaking of courage, this isn’t just something that comes overnight. Courage is about building up confidence in yourself, and in your abilities over time. It’s not brave, if it isn’t scary.
Pushing the parameters of comfort can have a knock-on effect for what you might consider a creative risk. Even if it’s just making that dreaded phone call, or finally deleting those files from ten years ago that you’ve been hoarding on your hard drive.
You don’t have to scale the side of a mountain, and at the time of writing we’re all in coronavirus-lockdown anyway. Taking steps that give a sense of achievement can fuel a further burst of motivation to carry on pushing through.
Think weird and wonderful when it comes to inspiration
Now, we’re not saying that our creative team are weird (we’re definitely saying that), but they’re also wonderful. Just like adding new skills to your arsenal as often as possible is beneficial, it’s also vital to broaden your sources of inspiration regularly.
Of course, stick with what you know will work, but go looking in new places from time to time, too. It might be a film, a song, a book, a place, a plate of food or total gibberish. The spark can come from some unexpected places.
Outsource anything that is draining you
There’s no dodging deadlines, endless paperwork or arduous processes, particularly when you’re self-employed or freelancing in the gig economy. But, that doesn’t mean you should let the daily grind bog you down.
If you feel that the admin is encroaching on your creativity, or if creative demands are draining getting the ‘real’ job done, then it’s time to consider outsourcing.
Leaving creative marketing, your accounting, logistics or whatever to the professionals is an investment, but one with an invaluable return on your ability to think more clearly.