The first few months of the year are an important time for product development here at So Close, come spring our customers will want to see lots of new Mother’s day and Easter designs and of course we are already using what we’ve learned this Christmas to plan designs for next year.
January and February are notoriously cold, damp and dull months. Poets and artists have waxed lyrical about the creative renewal of spring for centuries, but you rarely hear an ode to the creative joy of the first wet week in February.
This January has been particularly difficult for the Close family. With our daughter starting a new secondary school and my Mum in and out of hospital, there have been days when nurturing my creativity has not felt like much of a priority. Faced with a stressful month, I’ve been putting a bit of extra effort into my self care and have come up with a few tricks to jump start my creativity on those cold and grey last days of winter.
1. Get out
Ever heard the saying “ a change is as good as a rest?”. If you, like me, spend a lot of time working indoors, getting outside into some natural light and fresh air can really help get those little niggles into perspective.
I’m lucky enough to live near Dartmoor, so this month I’ve been making sure I take our pug dog Pip out to blow away the cobwebs. I often come home with more than just mud on my shoes - the fresh air can bring out fresh ideas and spark new ways of tackling a problem.
2. Book in some treats to look forward to
There’s a reason why January is a peak time for booking holidays. Everyone needs to start the year with something to look forward to. This year, I’ve chosen to plan a few small breaks locally to avoid the stress of travelling.
I’ve booked a spa day with my sister just up the coast in Sidmouth for the end of this month and I’m looking forward to a day away from any screens and a chance to chat without kids or dogs around to interrupt. After seeing some charming snaps on instagram, I’ve also booked a family mini break in a very photogenic bungalow in Bridport next month and am already planning out which inspiring locations might get my creative juices flowing.
3. Look back as well as forward.
if you’re facing a creative block and feeling overwhelmed by all the things you *could* be doing, have a look at what you were doing this time last year. Social media makes this nice and easy with Facebook time hop showing you memories and a chronological instagram feed to scroll through. Take a bit of time to revisit your creative triumphs - you might just think of a new twist on an old idea.
4. If in doubt, do,
So you’ve planned some inspiring trips, taken some good long walks and had enough naps to banish the worst of the post-Christmas exhaustion … and you still have creative block. What now?
Sometimes, the only cure for lack of motivation is to make a start - things often seem less overwhelming after the first step.
If you’re looking for a bit of accountability to help motivate you, there are plenty of free online challenges in January, from art journal prompts on instagram to long running projects like Illustration Friday.
Tarot found inspiration this time last year from joining an online illustration course with a great creative community who all shared their progress on social media. The ideas he developed then resulted in his Cat Dog Christmas book.
Whatever you do to stay creative in 2018, be good to yourself and don’t beat yourself up for having a bit of creative block. Stay strong - spring is coming!