How to let go of creative anxiety

On January 26th Zenit Design organized a talk together with Creative Mornings. The theme was Anxiety, and our graphic designer Olivia Whitehouse focused on creative anxiety, a subject a lot of creative spirits probably identifies with. Following are her three go to's when she's consumed with creative anxiety.

It's not about you - step into the customer's shoes

The roots of creative anxiety often comes from the self, the ego. "I am a cliché, I will disappoint them, I suck, I don't have any talent", can be thoughts that echo in the mind when trying to design the next amazing thing. But what we often forget is that the design is not about You at all - it is about the customer, and the customer's customer. So, using empathy, instead of ego, can be a way to letting go of those cruel thoughts as well as coming up with an innovative idea. Win win!

Don't compare - share your idea process with colleagues or friends

Also, a way to stop comparing yourself to others is to actually to use them as your asset. Use their experiences and perspective! When you look into that blank screen or white piece of paper and think "I've got nothing", go to your colleagues or call a friend. Sometimes just talking to them can be enough. Just describing the customer and the problem can help you find the right way to go. When needed, offer a cup of coffee and ten minutes of their time for some quick brainstorming.

Stop thinking - take a walk, do the dishes, meditate

When these two methods don't work, the time has come to just stop thinking. In these days of never ending flows of information, we need to take a brake more than ever. And taking a break does not mean scrolling Instagram! We're talking about something that is completely unintelectual. Remember those moments in life when you were taking a shower and suddenly an amazing thought poped up in your head? Or when you were doing the dishes, or ironing your clothes? We hardly ever get to those moments anymore, as we're now consuming a podcast while doing it, or watching the tv at the same time. So our advice is to just let yourself wander, let the thoughts run free.

See Olivias talk "Creativity + Anxiety = A Love Story" here

Advice from the audience

After the talk Olivia asked the audience to write down their own advice of how to handle creative anxiety. The post-its were many, but we managed to sum up the main tips. We really love how people shared their thoughts and ideas, and that we can openly talk about anxiety, as it is so close to us working with ideas and creativity.

Spend time in nature - Sit by the sea, take a walk in a forest. Get inspired.

Talk to a friend - It can remind you to value yourself.

Share your anxiety - With a friend or through social media.

Move your body - Go swimming, take a run. Whatever you fancy.

Be your own best friend - And treat yourself like that.

Remember old projects that went well - Just get started and let your creative self criticize later.

Be silly - Play around. Dance.

Liten to music - It heals almost anything.

and ...

January 31, 2018
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