Creativity Cramp (2007 Edition)

I am a Web designer and as such I have to be creative on an on-going basis. Every time a client calls and asks me to design a site I have to be creative and come up with a new design–something that will look attractive, that will be original and will fit the “feel” of the company or ministry or person. This is often quite difficult to do. I find it especially so when I’ve got 8 or 10 projects on the go, much like I do now. I’m not always convinced that I’ve got 8 or 10 new designs in me. Design is certainly not something that can always be done easily and quickly. I find that I can’t force design; I can’t force the creativity it takes to make a design. I sometimes try and the results are always underwhelming. So I have to wait, chipping away until finally, in a burst of creativity, I design something that is worth sharing. Something I can stand behind and be proud of. The muse has to speak, so to speak.

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I enjoy writing a great deal and look forward to it almost every day. Like web design, though, writing requires creativity on a daily basis if I am to attempt to produce something that is at least somewhat interesting and somewhat well-written. Like web design, writing is a process of creating something from nothing–of forcing myself to produce something I can consider good. An aspect of what I love about writing on a daily basis is forcing myself to think, to ponder, and to jot down something. Some days I know exactly what I am going to write before I set down at my computer. Other days I have no idea and just kind of let things flow.

Lately I don’t think I have done very well on either account. Several years ago, shortly after I began doing both blogging and web design, I coined the term “creativity cramp” to describe what I had been experiencing at the time–a general failure to be creative; an inability to create. And I’m at that place again. I do not suffer from a lack of ideas. I can see Web sites in my mind but when I try to create them they just don’t work out. They end up as clumsy, unformed, uninteresting messes. They are nowhere near the quality I demand of myself. I can see articles and posts in my mind, understand what I could say. But when I try to actually write them out they lack clarity, cohesiveness and quality. They are sad, pathetic little efforts.

This is creativity cramp! It’s much like writer’s block, I’m sure, but it extends to all areas of creativity. Any attempt at creativity just seems to fall flat.

This has happened before. It eventually resolves itself in a burst of creativity as I finally churn out the words and images that have been escaping me for the last week or two. So bear with me. I’m not looking for sympathy: just a bit of patience from clients and readers alike. This shouldn’t last long.