Riding the creative rollercoaster

The six stages of emotion I experience during the design process

Being creative is not always smooth sailing. As much as I love my field, it isn’t necessarily easy to be spontaneously creative.
I need to be in a certain mood and require a certain amount of focus in order to produce work I am happy with and proud of.
Because of this, I can experience a wide range of emotions during the creative process.
The following outlines the way I can feel about a project from start to finish:

Stage 1: This is awesome!
During this stage, I usually get really excited about the project in question, and think it’s going to be easy peasy.
A million ideas flow through my head and I’m filled with confidence.
But as I begin to fully understand the scope of the project and the limitations on design due to costing or time pressure, my ideas may begin to narrow or, sometimes, fizzle.

Tip: Don’t underestimate any project. It’s probably not going to be as easy as you think.

Stage 2: This is tricky …
Once this stage hits, I’m left thinking “what’s happening here?” and “I don’t know if this will actually work”.
Self-doubt can creep in as I question the process. Designer’s block is a thing, and it often happens in the beginning of a project.

Tip: There is a solution for every problem. You might need time to see it.

Stage 3: This sucks …
At this point, a number of thoughts are racing through my head:
My idea won’t work! This is horrible. This design is horrible. This project is horrible.
Everything starts to look a bit same-y. I’m pretty sure I used this blue for a bank last week. Why do all my website designs look identical? Am I a one-trick pony?

Tip: Relax, and go back to the drawing board

Stage 4: I suck!
Although I have a body of work that points to the fact that I am indeed skilled and capable of creating engaging graphics, my head is screaming
I am the world’s worst designer!
This is not a time to have a full-blown crisis and give up your career. Take a walk, sing a song, eat a brownie.

Tip: Ride out the wave of self-doubt. You’ve got this!

Stage 5: OK, this might work …
Now that you’ve taken a deep breath, and a bit of a break, you will hopefully begin to see the light. Slowly walk into it! A design that you are proud of is waiting on the other side.

Tip: Reset your mind. Put on your positive pants.

Stage 6: This is awesome!
And suddenly, there’s a design. And it is awesome! And all is right in the world again.

In conclusion, all creative tasks could be challenging in their own way. There will ups and there will be downs, but no creative task is impossible to do. So hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

Photo by Pedro Velasco on Unsplash

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