"Might as well as get a real job."
"Who am I kidding to think people would pay me to do this for a living?"
"That’s it! I give up! This is impossible!"
If, in your career, hobby, or life as a Web designer/Webmaster/freelancer you’ve ever mumbled one of those phrases, then you’re not alone. In fact I’m right there with you, and have been many, many times in the past. If you can honestly say you’ve never had, or even come close to having, thoughts like those above, then just book mark this article now and come back later. I promise you that you will return: we all get stuck here at some point.
Writers refer to this feeling as “writers block” or a dry spell. It’s a period when you just can’t seem to make things flow, nothing clicks, or you simply have no drive. In this industry, a dry spell is often a much bigger problem than, say, being unable to afford Adobe Photoshop. Why is it such a problem? For starters, it can eat at you to the point where you give up completely and toss in the towel, never to return to the Webmaster world again.
Well, never fear ’cause Jonese’s here! I’ve rounded up a few ideas that I use to get the juices flowing again and bring me back on track.
1. Revise past work
Take a look at your past work and see if there isn’t anything you can tweak. Simple alterations can make a huge difference in some projects, and this is a good warm-up for the mind.
2. Take on a small, interesting project
Make a simple Website for a friend, colleague or acquaintance. Sometimes these projects are so simple that you’ll not spend more than a day or two on them. BUT they can be invaluable – they take you back to the simple times of coding, and give you a positive outlook yet again on your work. Nothing encourages motivation like a good “congratulations!”
3. Learn from others
Check out other people’s hard labors. Instead of depressing yourself by thinking how much you want to be like them, instead focus on what you can learn from examining their techniques. Go to our very own forums and critique someone else’s Website, or visit a site like The Webby’s Award. These sites are great because they really push the limits, with more content, and more eye candy. Sometimes you can just get an idea for a button, banner, or better yet – a layout!
4. Go beyond the Web
GET OUT! Sometimes we think too digital and too Net. Get out of the house, take a drive, and go see a movie or browse a bookstore. There are tons of shapes, forms, and styles all around us. I once got an idea for a banner by watching a kid play in the park. Let your entire world be your inspiration.
That’s right – pick up a pencil and paper and just draw, or scribble, or simply let you hand dance across the page. Sometimes it’s better to conceptualize your Website on paper before you go to Notepad or DreamWeaver.
If none of those seem to work for you, then take a break. Step back from the computer and do something else you enjoy. Inspiration will come back to you, and if you’re anything like me, it’ll happen while you’re out driving, or with friends, or at some other moment when you’re nowhere near a computer…