As a creative person, I always feel like making things. Whether it be a physical project with pencils, paints and glue or a digital one on the computer. Having that creative spark and a brain full of ideas is really important, but sometimes you don’t get to fulfil all the ideas in your work. Sometimes the ideas that you have aren’t always appropriate for the projects you are working on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. Collecting these ideas and making a personal project is really important for creative flow. Having other projects to work on in your spare time can be really rewarding and have a surprising, yet positive effect on your life as a creative.
Here are three reasons why personal projects are important…
A Cycle of Creativity
Inspiration can come from anywhere, and when it hits it is sometimes difficult to express. The ideas you get from things aren’t always relevant to the project you might be working on, but that doesn’t mean that they should be forgotten. Unless there is a way for it to be used that fits the client brief, don’t try and force it. It will likely be unsuccessful and you will feel as if your idea has not reached its full potential.
Instead, why not make it your own. Create something with that idea for yourself. It could be a piece of art for your house or something just to keep in a sketchbook or your portfolio, you don’t even have to share it. Personal projects are just that, personal. But if you do share it with others you can show people your skills, which could lead to your ideas being used in future projects in the workplace.
This leads us to the idea of the ‘cycle of creativity’. An idea at work can lead to a creation at home, leading to other ideas that could be relevant at work. The possibility is endless, but as you are at the beginning of this cycle you are creating something that makes you feel autonomous. We often spend time doing things others tell us to do, so gaining that feeling for self-government by doing a personal project can be very rewarding. Not only are you unleashing your creativity how you would want to, but you are in full control, allowing yourself free reign and a bit of freedom.
Time For Play
Having freedom when being creative is very important. Although there are times when constraints are needed, freedom is where good creativity is born. By being the ‘boss’ of your own project it allows you to realise your potential and try new things. You can choose to develop a skill, try a new software or technique, have a play with your idea and just see what happens. Play is a big part of creative thinking; the more you play with new ideas and techniques the more you develop and grow as a creative.
Having freedom and play within your personal project helps with creative flow, too. Creative block is often difficult to get through, so simply picking up a pencil or a paint brush to see what happens can really help. You may find something new that you enjoy. This habit of play will be relevant in work as well as your personal projects, so overall it is a good practice.
Taking time for yourself is the best way to relax. But taking time to do a personal project can have the same effect. With no constraints or specific briefs to adhere to, the act of play and freedom at your fingertips, you can relax and simply just do. Doing something that you enjoy is a great way to wind down after a long day or in your spare time. The lack of deadlines makes personal projects much less stressful, so you can enjoy and get lost in the flow of your work.
Warning! Beware of Creative Burnout!
Obviously the benefits of personal projects are great, but you need to be careful that you don’t overdo it. Creative burnout and mental exhaustion can be detrimental to your work and your mental and physical health. So you need to make sure you still take time for yourself away from work to keep the right mindset. The idea of personal projects is to work without pressure, so try and avoid making yourself do it if you aren’t in the right mood. Find a balance and be creative, let your ideas flow and your skills improve. Why not give it a go?
For examples of projects we’ve worked on for our clients, visit our Portfolio page.