When I was a student and was learning my craft I used to make things for fun.
Mostly to learn new techniques, but it also helped to build a varied and interesting portfolio.
I think it's a shame that once you become 'commercially viable' that this endeavour often stops.
It's an awesome way of showing that you can produce the type of work you WANT to produce, before clients actually commission you to it.
It's something I've been trying to pick up again.
I suppose you could say that writing this daily blog/journal is a good example.
It's opened doors, started conversations and even won a couple of projects for me, but that was never the intention.
I knew that to get to where I wanted to be I had to work on improving my written communication. So the action I took was to write every single day.
The great bonus is the unexpected things that happen as a result. That's what keeps things interesting.
I believe that it creates a mindset of being a self-starter.
You end up taking on roles within a project that maybe lie outside of your specialist area... So you grow, improve and maybe find new things to learn or explore.
Another huge benefit is that it opens your eyes to new opportunities.
I've got two projects that I am collaborating on at the moment which started with casual 'what if' conversations.
One is kind of a t-shirt brand, but not really.
The other is full hippy... Flogging crystals and stuff like that, but again, there's a twist.
I reckon that constantly starting little 'play' projects will enhance your creativity.
It keeps your ideas fresh and as an added bonus, this creativity will spill into your client work.
Don't worry, you won't run out of ideas... You'll simply start having better ones.