The freedom of working for yourself can be great because you can focus all of your time and effort on just creating. It’s a great feeling when you first go at it, you have all these ideas and concepts you want to explore that had been bouncing around for months or even years with other creative people. But every once in awhile you can find yourself stuck in a creative funk and you have no one to help get you out of that. When you’re at an office or even a co-working space you can easily turn to the person next to you and ask for their quick thoughts on the problem. Just this quick outside prospective can add new creative energy to the project that can help you to bring your work to the next level. When you’re a solo entrepreneur finding the opportunities to share and show ideas is sometimes a tough task.
Peter Maxwell Davies said “If you don’t get feedback from your performers and your audience, you’re going to be working in a vacuum.”
You can think of that website your designing or your logo animation the same way, as a performance. Somedays it feels like you’re in this vacuum or bubble and have no idea if what you’re working on is relavent or even good any more. You can lose touch with what other people are working on and what boundaries they might be pushing with their own projects. Great work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need to get real feedback from your colleagues and customers. I’m lucky enough to have a very talented fiancée who has no problem telling me when something sucks. It might hurt my feelings or ego for a moment, but it helps me make something better. I also make sure to post samples of what work I’m doing online. Social media is a powerful tool for criticism; good and bad. You’ll find me sharing a sample on Dribble, putting up a photo on Twitter or Instagram and every now and then I’ll toss a video of a work in progress on my Tumblr. I know that you can only get better at your craft by working hard and getting constructive criticism; bringing in an outside perspective on things is always valuable.
So the next time you’re working on something, grab lunch with a friend and get their thoughts. Or toss it up on-line and get some outside opinions on it before you release the final product. You may just find that what you’re working on gets better once you reach for ideas outside your bubble.