Creative Business

June 18, 2020

7 Ways I Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

photo by Connie Shuffett photography

If you read this blog post about all the hats I wear as a self-employed artist, you will not be surprised to read that I frequently feel stretched between several areas within my business. I am designing and creating EVERY.DAY. and often in the evenings because, it just so happens, making stuff (all kinds of stuff) is not only my job but my hobby. Why couldn’t I take up a different hobby? I don’t know, making is too fun!

But, just because I love what I do doesn’t mean I don’t feel creative ruts or idea droughts…in fact, they come and go like the phases of the moon! I’ve learned to recognize when my creativity is in a phase of ebb vs. flow. Creativity waxes and wanes. *I am loving some moon / tide analogies today. For my job, it’s important for me to stay pretty inspired most of the time, so I have 7 tips to share with you for staying excited about creating.

Become Aware > Take Action
You won’t always feel creative. You don’t always have to be creative. It is scientifically proven (right? Someone tell me I’m right) that creativity comes and goes. What’s important is that you take advantage of it when it shows up. When you get the urge to sit down and paint or draw or make something, try your best to do it.

And if you can’t take advantage of it when the moment comes, set aside creative time and make it special. I understand not everyone has the luxury of setting aside time once a week (or even once a month) for the sole purpose of being creative. But, if it’s important to your mental health or to your progression as an artist, I know you will find the time to fit it in. I like to make my creative time special by getting cozy (comfy clothes), something fun to listen to, and a special beverage of some kind (wine or kombucha, usually). I look forward to this time like I look forward to going somewhere fun with friends or going on a date with my husband. It’s exciting, and I will often be gathering ideas for days before, planning what I’m going to do with that little slice of time.

Take a class.
No surprise that I’m a proponent of online courses. I am a teacher of online courses! But, I am also a student of them. Skillshare is a tireless resource for finding any and all online classes that tickle your fancy.

Mix it up.
When I am in a creative drought, it’s usually because I’ve been doing the same thing for a long period of time. Finding something new to try is generally a cure to my drought! If I’ve been painting in watercolors for a month, I would probably be very to do some lettering or ink drawing for a change. Ordering a craft kit on Etsy is also a great idea! I have my eye on this embroidery kit from Auburn Hoops.

Who is your creative spirit animal? What are they up to?
For years now, I’ve considered Elsie and Emma (of A Beautiful Mess) my creative spirit animals. Whenever I need to become excited about a creative project, I browse their blog or turn on their podcast. I’m sure you have someone like this in your line of vision. Take a look at what they’re doing and see what strikes you!
Other creative powerhouses I enjoy are Elise Joy (for a little bit of everything), Studio DIY, and At Home with Ashley

Make it a date.
Invite a friend or your group of gals over and have a craft night! There is truly nothing that sounds more heavenly than a girl’s craft night, complete with fun beverages. Some of you are totally cringing, and that’s fine. I am who I am. And, if you have a spouse or children that will go along with your ideas, that’s always an option, too.

Get disciplined. Set some goals. 
When it comes to creativity, there’s a myth that it must be completely organic or it’s not genuine. I don’t believe that for one minute. If it’s important to you to stay creative, you will need to be disciplined about sitting down to create when it doesn’t feel organic. I am a goal-oriented person, so setting creative goals works well for me. If this relates to you, I highly recommend listening to Elise Joy’s book on goal setting (link to book). I listened to it while photographing my second book, and it was a game-changer.

Give yourself grace.
It’s not always fun, not always Instagram-worthy, and it’s not always rewarding. That’s okay. No one is keeping score. You got this! 

These are a few ways of MANY that you can stay inspired and creative when you really don’t feel like it. I hope you enjoyed this post and will comment with any of your creativity tips for all to see!

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