My Top 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity
Lately I’ve been finding myself in a bit of a creative lull.
We’re once again in the midst of a schedule change - Kyle is switching back to his previous work schedule.
And while this schedule is familiar to us, it’s still an adjustment after we’ve been going on a completely different one for almost 3 months.
And we are in the midst of our busiest birthday season, with Easter having been thrown in the middle.
And getting ready to transition to summer time schedules for Evelyn.
While everyone is constantly going through transitions of some sort, it always throws me off my game a bit when we have multiples going on at once.
And unfortunately my creativity is an area that seems to suffer first.
Especially for something as new and demanding as a weekly (usually) blog.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not “out of ideas” necessarily.
More like struggling to come up with the perfect posts for right now.
For many of us, our creative juices seem to kind of ebb and flow with the seasons of our lives.
Sometimes overflowing and demanding to be heard, and other times floating shallowly and calm, only whispering if we stop and really listen.
There have also been periods of my life where I stopped listening all together, busying myself with all the other details of life.
But now with this blog where I am trying to routinely create content, sometimes the pressure and time sensitivity make it hard to brainstorm.
So, all this rambling is coming to a point, I promise.
And it’s this - how do you inspire creativity when the well feels all but dried up?
Here are my favorite ways to try to get the creative juices flowing again!
Whether it’s hiking on a mountain, time spent by a river or lake, or an hour outside on your porch or walking the neighborhood. Getting outside in the fresh air can do wonders for your imagination. Let yourself take in the shapes, palettes, textures, and movements of the world around you. And if that doesn’t help, try letting your mind wander. It’s often when I’m somewhere that I can’t be distracted by housework, to-do lists, children, or technology that I do my best thinking. Just let your mind go in whichever direction it chooses, and see where you end up.
Take a Shower or Bath
This goes along the same lines as getting outside for the sense of being distraction free and letting your mind wander. Plus, it’s generally relaxing. There’s a reason it’s a cliche that good ideas happen in the shower, your mind isn’t cluttered by all that’s going on around you! To help with the relaxation, light some candles, use a special bubble bath or body wash, and give yourself the time to brainstorm.
I’m betting that most people don’t sit perfectly still for a designated amount of time, in silence, and mediate daily. If you don’t, don’t worry! I don’t either! But I do enjoy things that can be meditative and still productive. My favorite ways to clear my mind and achieve a “meditative” state are knitting, yoga, yard work, and yes even housework when I’m uninterrupted. The biggest key is allowing yourself time, quiet, and minimizing interruptions. This helps to aid in an open trail of thought that could lead you any number of places! Even if you don’t solve your creative inspiration issues, I’m betting you’ll stumble upon a few solutions to the other things that are stressing you out, and reducing stress can be a huge help in improving creativity.
Solve a Problem
If you’re trying to figure out your next hit knitting pattern, and you're coming up empty, try solving another problem. Even if you don’t follow through with “fixing” the problem, research and brainstorm it. Whether it’s this years DIY halloween costume idea, a storage solution to the hall closet, or your meal plan for next week. Sit down, focus on the issue, and do a little research. This gets your brain working through processes and making connections, much like it does when your dreaming up your next project. The process is very similar, so it’s reasonable to assume when you turn back to your creativity problem, the wheels will already be turning.
Try Something New
If you can’t come up with a new scrapbooking layout, and nothing seems to be coming together, set it aside and try a new craft or project. Maybe take up embroidery or sewing. Or even painting. Even if you’re terrible at it, and most likely don’t know what you’re doing. Or if you find a kit or beginner series to follow. Switch gears and get yourself out of your normal processes. Maybe you’ll dream up a paint by numbers layout, or try to incorporate your new embroidery skill into your scrapbooking. Or maybe even your kits’ color palette will help you dream up the perfect spread.
Watch Some Videos
While inspiration can come from just about anywhere, I’m not necessarily saying turn on a mindless sitcom. At least not for this one. Instead, turn on something that is maker or creativity driven. I just binged the first season of Making It from NBC in two days, and it helped me come up with some awesome ideas that I can’t wait to try. And introduced me to some styles I’d like to research some more. And while there aren’t as many crafty shows out there as I’d like, there is always YouTube! Look for crafty tutorials or podcasts and binge some of them. Even if the exact project they are showing isn’t something I’m looking for, there’s almost always something I can take away from it - a color palette, texture, technique, etc.
Read a Book
Reading can be amazing for your imagination, because it requires it! Think of all the visual designing you have to do in your mind while you’re processing an authors descriptions. Imagine all the landscapes, moods, clothing styles, etc. that are described in novels. While this might not help you lay out a project in full detail, it can certainly inspire a mood or feel that might jump start the process. I always enjoy the cozy, warm mood I feel when reading about Hogwarts, especially the Gryffindor common room. Imaging the colors, tables full of books, the fireplace, and Hermione knitting in a leather chair sparks a certain kind of mood in me that could be a perfect spring board for say a sweater pattern (if I wrote those). Even if you aren’t on the hunt for your creative trail, keeping notes of these specific mood palettes and the books/scenes that inspire them might help you out in the future.
This one is in a way connected to the one above. This is almost a precaution, something you can do before you hit that dry spell. Take notes on anything you love. This is why I love Pinterest and Instagram so much. I can save and categorize everything I see that sparks any kind of joy in me. And then I can use it later when I’m needing a little creative lift. I also keep extensive notes on just about any brainstorm I have, because it seems that the busier I get, the harder time I have recalling any of these brilliant moments.
This one seems like a no brainer, but I’m going to list it anyways. When all else fails, scroll the internet. I like to openly scroll Pinterest and Instagram especially to see what kind of things are popping up lately. Sometimes the craziest things will inspire an idea. Sometimes it’s a Kid Craft or a printable or a storage solution that leads me down a winding path to a great project idea.
This is my last tip! When I’m furthest from my imagination, I stop trying. I let myself relax and let go of the stress of trying to figure it out! Even if this means taking a few days, weeks, or longer off. Sometimes stressing and overthinking the fact that you can’t think of anything, only makes the problem bigger. The best thing can be just walking away. Don’t worry though! It’s not going to be gone forever and you aren’t going to forget about it. Instead, it will suddenly spring back up on you when you are least expecting it. You will be busy running errands, or reading to your kids, or laying in bed before drifting off to sleep. Then all of a sudden, you’ll stop whatever you’e doing and need to get your idea out. Whether it’s by jumping right in and starting, or simply making a note before the thought is lost. I promise you, sooner or later, your next best idea will come to you!
So tell me, what do you do when you’re feeling less than creative? Did I mention it here, or did I miss it completely?
Let me know in the comments below! Or, tag me in an Instagram post with @Peoniesandcream or #Peoniesandcream.