In a recent blog post, I got the question from Paula, “How is it you stay so creative and on the top of your game all the time?” Thanks for the flattering assessment that I’m on top of my game! Especially right now where I’m preparing for my 3rd kid and sometimes feel like it’s a circus act just to keep things from slipping! I thought Paula’s question was a great one for us all so I thought I would share my thoughts here on the blog for everyone to read and include their input in the comments! 🙂
1. Keep a diverse portfolio. I love making kits AND templates. I often find that after making a new kit, ideas for a template pack come SO easily because I’m ready for a change. Changing things up also keeps me from getting bored which is a big creativity-sucker! If you’re not feeling the creative juices for something, maybe put it down and work on something else, making sure to return to your first project, even if it’s just to do a little at a time. Only when I first started out did I leave some kits unfinished as I couldn’t see it coming together. But really, that’s no reason to stop! Sometimes, I’m wondering if a kit is working and it’s not until I see the preview all together that I see that it turned out alright. You’ll also notice that my style doesn’t stay the same from kit to kit. This is just my personal preference. Some would say you should find a style niche and stay there but for example, my 2 best-sellers of ALL TIME, my Got Class collab with Crisdam Designs and my Doctor’s Orders kit are two ENTIRELY different styles! I personally like scrapping with an assortment of styles because my life is an assortment of moods and emotions! So, this is another way I keep things fresh for me by going back and forth between retro/classic vintage and the modern, bright and cute style.
2. Make time to relax! Especially with digital scrapbooking, it’s great to put the designing pen down and go back to scrapping a page. This can help remind you of which elements are good in kits, how you should design elements to be of the best use, and what elements and patterns work well together. This also gives you a chance to start thinking outside the box and making sure your designs are not becoming repetitive. Take some time each week to remember why you started digital scrapbooking and recapture that love to pull you through!
3. Take some time to get inspired! I totally browse other designers’ stores all the time! I get on Pinterest and see what’s trending there. I save images of things I love and want to try on my own stuff. Especially paper scrapbooking. Paper and digital scrapbooking feed off of each other and I don’t really have a paper scrapbook store locally but if you do, check it out from time to time to get some ideas! Anything paper can do, digital can do! (sometimes, better!) Also, it’s ideas I take from others, not exact replicas, just to clarify. Like, “Ooh, I love how they used baker’s twine to make that pennant banner- I’ll have to try that!” Or “I like that stacker! I’ll have to do a fun stacker for my next kit!” and so on.
4. Timing takes time to master. Ok, sorry for the cheesy saying there but it’s true. I don’t know how long you’ve been following me but the designer I was in 2010 when I started is a COMPLETELY different designer than I am today. That designer would make 1 new word art pack each month, then a new kit every couple of months… and slowly, I got into a routine. Maybe you want to get to the point where you release something weekly. You can take a short break from frequent releases while you work ahead and try to get set-up. I like to release themed or holiday-related kits about 2-3 weeks before the holiday. Sales often continue after the holiday but that’s when the competition is putting out their products too! If you’re struggling to get on the schedule you’d like, I learned this great technique from Stacy, the owner of GottaPixel. She said to make a list of 9 things each day; 3 things that you MUST accomplish that day, 3 things you’d LIKE to accomplish if you have time, and then 3 things it’d be NICE to accomplish. Really make sure those first 3 things get done. So in other words, prioritize! If you must, set a schedule when you check emails and browse for inspiration and keep strict tabs on the time you spend there to keep you from wasting time! So what does time management have to do with creativity? None of us like to feel crunched for time or have a deadline hanging over our heads. If we can get organized and on schedule, we’ll have plenty of time to get the project done even if we get a bit of a creative rut for a few days.
5. Keep a journal of positive feedback and comments you receive from customers! I personally haven’t done this yet but I will go to posts where I was a featured designer and read the lovely comments. Also, each week with my sneak peek, I get such sweet and thoughtful comments that just keep me going! Honestly, if I didn’t get the positive feedback about my templates, I’d probably stop making them! There are times I have considered it and then I read the comments and tell myself people out there like them so I go on! My creative team is also a great support to me with their encouragement and when they make layouts, that’s a boost too. Having a good dose of self-esteem and positive feelings about your work will help with creativity. I know that when I have a kit that flops (and sometimes, it just takes a few weeks or months of sales for it to finally make a good profit) it dampens my spirits for a bit but I have to dust myself off, and move on to the next thing and realize not every product will be received well.
6. Do something that scares you! So I can’t think of a single product where I haven’t had the thought at least once, “I can’t do this”. I look at what I’m trying to create and think, it’s above my level to pull off effectively. But I try and sometimes amaze myself! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfortable zone and try new things. You may feel like you “fail” or you may surprise yourself. And you’ll only get better with time and practice. And just for you, man, I can’t believe I am doing this, I found this on the web, a picture of one of my first kits!
Wow. That’s almost painful to look at. Lol. But if I had just stayed where I felt comfortable, I wouldn’t have grown and developed as a designer. So don’t let fear hold back your creativity!
Well, those are my nuggets of wisdom for ya. I started a board on my Pinterest page with Creative Block Tips . Maybe others will have some pins to share and we can make it a great board with some great ideas!
Thanks again for the question Paula and if anyone else has ideas to share, leave a comment!!