Great ideas are just around the corner

It’s just not working. The arms are too long. The composition angle is off for some unknown reason. And the hands… don’t get me started on the hands.

MRM Meteorite digital creative Will Aslett

That was an hour ago. Since then, I swallowed my pride, set an injunction against illustration coming within 100m of me and I got a quick divorce from design. I left them in pursuit of a new career in walking the leafy summer streets of self-loathing, and before long I had completely forgotten about their existence. Momentarily.

Suddenly the crunch of a snagged pencil shaving on my shirt rubs against my hand, acting as a catalyst to bring all of the memories flooding back. The arms, the angle, the hand – that’s what I should do. Gosh, why didn’t I think of that before!

Great Ideas are Just Around the Corner, illustration by Will Aslett
Great Ideas are Just Around the Corner, illustration by Will Aslett

We’re always looking for the ‘click’, the eureka moment. Unfortunately, a lot of the time ideas just don’t happen like that. Inspiration cannot be forced; inspiration finds you. Ideas strike us out of nowhere usually when we least expect it. This goes for the majority of mediums within the design cosmos. Think of it like Cupid’s arrow, but more constructive.

During and in between briefs you need some breathing space. This is how I have been able to overcome a creative block or what is commonly known as ‘one of those days’ where, in my case, I couldn’t draw anything.

In a situation where nothing is working out, it would be advantageous to distance yourself from the project at hand. Whether it’s taking 10 minutes to remember that you’re not a cousin of Edward Scissorhands with Wacom styli for fingers, or taking a week off to go rock pooling in Devon to find your ‘inner sanctum’, it’s essential to allow your mind some time off to digest everything. It’s here within our subconscious that these inspired moments occur. Doing a whole lot of nothing could be the best thing you do when you’re looking for a great big massive something.

What could you do differently? Maybe you’re taking the wrong approach. Are you stuck in a groundhog day of creativity (or lack of therein)? Get yourself out of that comfort zone so that you can feel the spark of urgency, where every idea feels more vital.

Before you know it, you’ll be having a walk with a trendy hot beverage only to find that the idea you’ve been looking for all day has been just around the corner.

Will Aslett is a digital creative at MRM Meteorite. You can find him on Twitter, @willaslettdraws, or on his website

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