8 Ways to Stay Creative

Creativity is something critical for all of us. How many times have I found myself blocked in front of a blank page, not knowing where to begin?

Perhaps you have also encountered that situation where you imagine what you want, to the point of visualizing the finished work. You just don’t know how to get there.

It’s not like that story of Michelangelo, who, when asked how he sculpted his nearly five-meter-high David, simply replied that it was easy, that he spent a good amount of time staring at the block of marble until he saw the man who had slain the giant Goliath in it. Then, all he had to do was pick up his tools and remove everything that wasn’t David. It’s perhaps an artistic case of reverse engineering.

The good news is that we are not Michelangelo. We don’t need to reach that level of hallucination.

But regardless of your profession, at some point, you rely on creativity.

However, ideas don’t fall from the sky or magically appear out of thin air. First and foremost, you need to create an environment for them to flourish and grow.

The fact is that over these years, I’ve realized that intuitively there are ways for us to seek inspiration when it refuses to appear.

Here, I mention eight of them. But, of course, there are many others (by the way, if you know of one, please let me know):

1. Don’t fight with your brain. Creativity is like a tide, it ebbs and flows. It doesn’t announce when it’s going to arrive. It’s not something scheduled. An entrepreneur may expect their employee to perform a task at a certain time of day. But they can’t demand that they have a good idea exactly at 9:12 in the morning. So, stop tormenting yourself and give yourself some time..

2. Go for a walk. Take a walk along the beach, in the park, through the streets for at least half an hour. Taking a breather, changing your environment, even if only for a short time, has a powerful effect on the creative proces.

3. Carry a notepad. Put away your iPhone, your iPad, and other gadgets and have a pencil and paper on hand. Manual sketching, doodling, drawing, jotting down anything that comes to mind, it’s all unique and valuable.

4. Do something similar. We learn by copying others. Copy and replicate the style of an artist or a text from a great writer. See what you can assimilate from there. Starting from what already exists, you can create something new. Few things in this world are truly original.

5. Do something different. If you’re a designer, write a text (I’m providing an example right now). If you’re a writer, a journalist, for instance, create drawings. If you’re a professional in the exact sciences, paint pictures. Explore a less familiar territory in your daily life.

6. Change your environment. Break the monotony of your surroundings by changing the place where you usually work. If it’s at home, try moving to a different room for a while. If your activity is in an office, find another room or desk. Go to a library. Step into a bookstore. Remember, you don’t have to enter a café just to have coffee.

7. Brainstorming. This is already a well-known method for generating ideas. But it works. Just jot down everything that comes to mind, without censorship, without filtering or refining the sketch. Anything goes here. Just knowing that much of what you do will be discarded and thrown away already relieves a lot of pressure to create and produce something final.

8. Keep calm. We live in a world of inputs – there’s so much information entering our heads all the time through WhatsApp, the internet, emails, TV, music, newspapers, advertisements, you name it. It can be overwhelming to find space for creative thinking. That’s why I occasionally disconnect from it all, take a break from the outside world, and meditate in my own inner world. Half an hour of silence is worth its weight in gold.

All of this ends up being actions that, in some way, nourish our brains. Images take shape. We feel inspired. It’s the time when we are finally ready to be brilliant and create something memorable.

The bad news is that we are not Michelangelo.

Get rid of back and joint pain

As a graphic designer, we spend extended periods sitting sitting in front of a computer. And, of course, this can lead to back and joint pain. So it’s important to incorporate some healthy practices into our routine to relieve these pains and improve our overall health. Here are some tips and exercises that can help you:

To relieve back and joint pain

Maintain proper posture: Sit with your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. Use a chair with lumbar support and adjust the monitor height so your eyes are aligned with the top of the screen.

Take regular breaks: Every 30 or 40 minutes, stand up, stretch, and take a short walk. This helps prevent stiffness and improves circulation.

Stay hydrated: Drink water regularly to keep your body hydrated. This is essential for proper joint function.

Proper ergonomics: Ensure your workspace is set up ergonomically to reduce strain on joints and muscles.

Vary your position: If possible, use a sit-stand desk or do some of your work while standing to relieve pressure on your back and joints.

Exercises while sitting:

Stretching: Do gentle stretches to relieve muscle tension. Examples include stretching your arms overhead, gently leaning to the sides, and stretching your leg muscles.

Shoulder rotations: Sit up straight and rotate your shoulders forward and backward. This helps loosen the muscles in your neck and shoulders.

Back stretch: Sit on the edge of your chair, cross your arms over your chest, and gently twist your torso to one side while keeping your hips aligned. Repeat for the other side.

Ankle flexes: Sit and extend your legs in front of you. Perform flexing and extending movements with your ankles to improve leg circulation.

Chair squats: Stand up from the chair and do light squats, using the chair for support. This helps activate leg muscles and relieve back pressure.

Hand and wrist stretches: Gently rotate your wrists and fingers to maintain flexibility in your hand joints.

Core strengthening: Practice exercises like short planks to strengthen your core muscles, providing better support for your spine.

Consistency is key. That’s why I try to incorporate these tips and exercises into my daily routine for the best results. Believe it or not, even your creativity will thank you.

Who has creativity?

A bicycle handlebar is not a work of art. Neither does the saddle on which the cyclist sits to pedal. But when Pablo Picasso put these two pieces together, he saw a bull’s head in them. And he created an artistic sculpture.

Something by chance? Perhaps yes. But how often do we do things at random and not realize what’s behind them?

Maybe you are familiar with the case of Art Fry, then a scientist at 3M, the multinational giant that, among a variety of products, is the world leader in high-adhesion adhesives.

Fry and I have something in common: we share the same pleasure of singing in a choir. And when you have a large repertoire of songs, it ends up being common to mark the scores with a piece of paper.

One day, accidentally dropping his sheets with the songs, Fry had his eureka moment: he remembered that a colleague had developed a pressure-sensitive substance, but with poor adhesion. From there, the idea of a bookmark began to germinate.

The scientist’s flash ended up becoming the most famous yellow pad in the world: the Post-it.

Creativity, in short, is something that applies to you too, regardless of your professional field. She is not a gift. It is not exclusive to artists and designers.

It’s just another activity you exercise.

But I confess that I still haven’t found a creative way to sing without being out of tune.

How to become a billionaire

Bill Gates says he reads about 50 books a year, most of which are non-fiction, and help him explain in some way how the world works.

Elon “Mars” Musk, when asked how he learned to build rockets, was synthetic: I read books!

According to Tom Corley, analyzing the role that reading plays in personal success, the rich ones read to educate themselves and self-improvement. The poor ones read mainly to entertain themselves.

But, going back to Bill and Elon, I ask: what do guys like them, multibillionaire tech exponents, have in common?

The fact is that they still rely on one of the oldest instruments of information: printed books. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, when he launched the Kindle was right when he said that “the book is so highly evolved and so suited to its task that it is very difficult to replace it”.

After all, reading books is a sensorial experience: we like to touch and feel the texture of the paper. I sometimes went further and even sniffed the leaves. Nowadays I don’t get to that much, but I still keep the addiction to reading.

Becoming a billionaire is just a matter of time.

How to calculate the spine of a book

Believe it or not, at the beginning of the 90s, in the distant twentieth century, there was no computer with programs to help the designer in the production of some graphic material. In fact, there was no computer. At least not within reach of a mere mortal like me.

The work was done by hand, almost artisanal. That is, the monitor at that time was the paper itself.

When we created a book cover, for example, one of the most annoying things was calculating the width of the spine. Something that was often done on the eye.

For that, you had to know the number of pages, whether the cover would be hard or flexible, take into account the weight of the paper, delve into mathematical formulas, and finally pray that the title and author of the book, which is almost always placed vertically, they were right there, right in the middle of the spine.

If, on the one hand, this could represent an uncreative task, on the other hand, life without a computer forged a more refined look in design professionals.

Today things are much easier. We can leave the math aside. And to make it even easier, there are some graphic sites and print shops that help solve this problem.

Several of them have an online calculator that determines the dimensions of the spine. Just enter the total number of pages, choose the paper type, select the cover dimensions and you’re done. Immediately it indicates the width.

On American sites, measurements are in inches (sometimes Americans like to complicate people’s lives, and that’s why they don’t work with millimeters or centimeters).

Diggypod, gutenberg, printninja and bookbeam, for example, give good help.

Of course, depending on the complexity of your project, the ideal is to check these values directly with the printing company where your book will be printed. Because they all have their production methods and procedures.

But always consider that a book with less than 70 pages is too thin to have a spine.

This reminds me of an amusing chronicle by the late Brazilian writer João Ubaldo Ribeiro, where he writes that his grandfather did not take seriously a book that did not stand up on its own: “This is shit.”, said the old man. “These booklets that don’t stand up aren’t books, they’re leaflets”.

The lesson of Mad Men

The day you get a customer is the day you start losing them.

If you, like me, followed Mad Men, aired some years ago by HBO, you must remember this great phrase by Roger Sterling, one of the partners in the series’ advertising agency.

It’s the truth. As soon as you are lucky enough to gain a business partner, the stage begins in which you build a strategy to offer them your best service or product.

But all it takes is getting a little stagnant in the approach and turning the communication on autopilot for him to realize that you are no longer committed to his success in the way he imagined.

And then begins the moment when he goes to get the food from the neighbor’s bowl.

Because a customer is interested like a cat, not faithful like a dog