Elizabeth Street

Why a Digital Detox Will Make You More Creative

Creative InspirationLiz Tubman1 Comment

Have you ever found yourself endlessly scrolling down the screen of your Pinterest, Instagram, or RSS feeds with glazed eyes only to reach the end and not be able to remember what you just saw or read?  I love looking for new ideas and project inspiration, but it's becoming easier and easier for me to become completely overwhelmed at the amount of ideas and inspiration out there in the digital world. Do you ever feel this way?   

When I start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of digital content at my fingertips, that feeling turns into creative overload, which in turn produces stagnation.  Instead of taking these new ideas and being inspired by them, I find I'm completely uninspired and too distracted by all the ideas to actually do anything productive with them.

I find I either have too many random ideas or I start comparing my work to every other piece of work that started off as an inspiration.  Both of these are paralyzing; I don't know where to start with any of my half-baked ideas or I'm somehow convinced that my work won't ever measure up to the other work I see out there so I shouldn't do any of my own work at all.  This is when I know I need to stop, close my laptop, put down my iPad or phone and just walk away.  

Sometimes, walking away means a digital detox; ie. no internet or technology for a period of time, whether that's an hour or a month.  Sometimes, just a few minutes away from my computer feels refreshing, but other times I need hours or even days to "detox".

The benefits of a digital detox:

  • Time away from the computer brings you back to the true source of your work and why you started your work in the first place.  I love researching patterns and finding inspiration for knitting and sewing projects online but it's working with my hands to make something from scratch that I first fell in love with. 
  • You can start to find real inspiration again instead of just overload.  More often than not, real inspiration comes in the middle of doing life, whether it's a conversation with a friend, a Bible verse I've read during devotional time, a song lyric that sticks in my head, or any number of things from everyday life.
  • Stepping away from the computer will give you a fresh perspective on your work.  A fresh perspective always helps me work through trouble spots and lets me know if the little details are really worth obsessing over.
  • Getting away from the computer will let your own unique voice and style shine through.  The comparison game is so easy to play, and often I find that when I'm overwhelmed with ideas I start to unconsciously compare my work to what I see on the screen.  As a result, I end up creating something that looks more like the ideas that I've been looking at instead of my own work.  The world needs work with your voice and style, not a copy of someone else's. 

Alright, now stop reading this blog post about creative digital overload and step away from the computer to find some real inspiration!