Creative Juice – (just) DO IT

A deadline is looming and you have zero ideas – we’ve all been there.

I generally tidy my desk, flick through some magazines or Instagram. I then feed my craving for brain junk food, with a fix of celeb goss.

Hmmm, maybe I should just clean my keyboard, then I’ll make a start…

Yeah that really helps. Shortly after, mild to blind panic sets in and I have to get my head down.

However, having a deadline does focus the mind. Without exception, it’ll be the design I’ve pulled out of thin air 5 minutes before the meeting that’s best received and invokes gasps of “Oooh I LOVE that!


“When you ask Creative People how they did something, they feel guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something”
Steve Jobs


I love being in The Zone. The place where concentration forces the thinking brain into second gear and ideas start magically, effortlessly popping from the subconscious. It’s almost a trance like state where all the good ideas are hiding.

Hurrah! I can still do it after all. Why did I waste so much time?! I had loads of ideas all along! I Love feeling like this!

But it’s only that fear that creates such laser focus for me. Fear of looking incompetent in a meeting, of having nothing to present.

I want to create this fire without a pressing deadline, to develop my own brand. I have made several lukewarm attempts to be self employed, but with the comfort blanket of paid employment and an ocean of self-doubt – I’m yet to “just do it”.


So, how to live in the Creative Zone all the time, but this time for me, not a corporation?

“Businessmen drink my blood.

Like the kids in art school said they would”

                                                                                                                                                                                   Ready to Start by Arcade Fire


Recently I found this book SHINE – HOW TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE AT WORK in TK Maxx for the bargainous sum of £3.99. While I’m not really focused on shining at work particularly, I like the style of it and fancied the shot of positivity it offered.




Chris Barez-Brown has a refreshingly concise and convincing way of reminding us that we are amazing and can do anything we want.  Yes, it’s not a meaty business tome for management types, but it spoke to me. He says we all need a “North Star” a focus, a clear idea of what we want to achieve and where we want to be in life. This is commonsense stuff, but easy to lose sight of.

We’re also urged to be a “bit more Elvis”, a maverick who wants to change things for the better (in my experience this is easier said than done in a large corporation). I love the “can-do” attitude though, it chimes with my own philosophy and gave me another reminder to just get out there and just DO.

(so far, still not done it)

*The Artist’s Way – A Course in Discovering and Recovering The Creative Self  by Julia Cameron is a full book which boils down to a simple (but quite effective) daily habit.

You are to write – in longhand, not typing –  3 pages of A4 as soon as you wake every morning. That’s the crucial part – first thing every morning. The reasoning for this is to start before the ego has time to kick in, so you are writing from your true self – a stream of consciousness. When you are looking for clarity of thought or are stuck, it’s quite good to get your thoughts on paper to stop them swimming round and round your head, so this habit is a good one. Julia suggests that you don’t go back over and read what you’ve written, but to just get it all out of your head. If you run out of things to write after a page or so, you have to dig deep and keep writing and eventually the words will come – much like inspiration!


I have tried many ways over the years to kickstart my “business” ideas – of which I have many. All start out as amazing ideas, but end if with me convincing myself that it won’t work, so get put away in the cupboard under the stairs in the recesses of my mind. There must be another way – what next?

Designers use “vision” or Moodboards all the time to crystallise the vision we are trying to create.


VISION BOARDS are an oft talked about phenomenon (yes, I know that’s a strong word – but for the believers anyway, that’s what they are!)  A friend of a friend created such a board and somehow his wants (agencies around the World and a model girlfriend) came true.  Sounds a bit lame  and a bit “The Secret” wish-and-it’ll-come-true, but designers use “vision” or Moodboards all the time to first shape, then enforce the vision we are trying to create. This is basically what Vision Boards are but are more focused on Big Life wants.

As Elizabeth Rider of The Huffington Post decries

“If you think Vision Boards are bogus, then the joke’s on you”…


I’ve definitely been guilty of over-thinking things in the past, so in my quest to untangle why it is that I’ve got all these ideas and tools to create my own brand but haven’t. What is it that’s really stopping me? Time I looked a bit deeper into my psyche.

THE SCHOOL OF LIFE brilliantly combines philosophically based “help” with beautifully designed books and animations (check out their brilliant You Tube channel for bite sized inspo).

I recently ordered this set of cards entitled CAREER CRISIS – Refocus Your Ambitions.



Lots of little cards depicting everyday life in simple graphics, with thought provoking quotes on the back such as:


“If Confidence can’t be summoned in more standard, gentle ways, DEATH is always there as a resource to frighten us into productivity”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The School Of Life


Hmmm, quite apt for this site, ok then, right, best get cracking…

I love reading and researching and in the quest to reinvent the second half of my working life, I’ve bought many, many self help (hinderance?) books and CD’s to listen in the car, the “mobile classroom”.

Think and Grow Rich, It’s not How Good You Are, It’s How good You Want To Be; How to Win Friends and Influence People; Awaken The Giant Within; How to Make a Million before Lunch; An Artist’s Way* on and on and on – I’ve read ‘em all and more besides.

In truth, I’d give Bridget Jones a run for her money.

Most have pearls of wisdom to offer, but this is what I’ve learned so far:

1. Focus on What you Want or Where you Want to Be
2. Create a Visual of that so it becomes real and reinforced in your mind’s eye, on a daily basis
3. Don’t overthink it or soon fear and subsequently, paralysis, will creep in. Change your scenery, go for a run – works for me.
4. Force yourself to “Do” everyday – inspiration finds you working – not scanning the Daily Mail
5. Finally, just jump in where you are right now and DO IT!


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