Stefan Sagmeister, a graphic designer and typographer, gave a TED talk on the power of time off, arguing that aside from obvious personal benefit, sabbaticals also improve the quality of work because it spurs inspiration and ideas. Every seven years he completely closes his studio for a 1 year sabbatical.
The clients who missed the memo and contact the studio during that time receive the message:
“Hello. You have reached Sagmeister, Inc.
We are conducting a full year of experiments and will be back ___.
Please call us then.”
In his talk, he mentions that even with work that he loves, he eventually adapts and becomes bored. It’s at this point that he notices his work begins to look the same.
This particular point really struck me; It drives home the point that an artist who wants to inspire others must first seek to be inspired. How can you hope to gain fresh ideas when you are always doing the same thing? A sabbatical and break from routine is what will provide the time and focus to refill your bucket of inspiration so you can pour it back out into your art.
The point of the sabbatical is not lie around idly, but to experiment and discover what new things you may create. It’s the environment of a sabbatical that allows for this discovery to happen.
Obviously, not everyone can take a consistent full year sabbatical but this kind of discovery can also be obtained through personal work. Without the pressure of pleasing a client, an artist can “play” in his art. When is the last time you let yourself rest and rediscover why you even started creating in the first place?
Bio: Imahni Dawson is a student, writer, and musician, with a passion for helping others realize their own greatness. She loves to learn and create through music, prose, poetry, and art.