As a creative person, it’s tough to always feel inspired and excited creatively. There are definitely times of “drought”, when creativity doesn’t flow as freely- or you have a brain block. In fact, I think that’s very normal and makes those creative moments more magical, but it can be frustrating when you have a deadline and the ideas just aren’t coming as they normally would. Rather than sitting and waiting around for creativity to strike, I wanted to share 20 ways I find creative inspiration that help me out of a creative rut. Whether you’re a designer, painter, videographer, chef, or any type of creative in any type of role… I hope this post gets you excited and is encouraging. Click through to read about 20 ways I personally find creative inspiration…
When inspiration strikes, it’s an awesome feeling… but there also dry spells for creatives. This has honestly been a tough year for creativity because SO much is happening that requires space. Whether your profession is creative or if you just enjoy being creative for fun, I hope my list will help provide inspiration for breaking creative drought. It’s easy to feel discouraged when ideas aren’t flowing freely, but I’ve learned creativity can’t be forced… no matter how determined you are, BUT- there are certainly exercises that help.
While doing some of these things are more challenging during a pandemic, I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to find inspiration (despite current restrictions- like touring a museum online instead of in person)…
- Get outside. I’m always amazed what fresh air, moving my body, and awakening my senses (like noticing how beautiful flowers smell) can do for my creativity. Going outside is always my first remedy.
- Travel. This is tough right now, but I’m incredibly inspired by a change of scenery. From hotels, architecture, culture, and food… traveling is one of my biggest forms of inspiration.
- Flip through magazines. Yes, old school PRINTED magazines are my favorite. There is something about turning pages, taking notes, and ripping out ones I find particularly inspiring.
- Visit a museum. I love museums of all types. I’ve discovered that I gain a ton of ideas walking through museums & galleries (or virtual tours right now).
- Make a list. I’m the type of person who jots down every thought. Journaling and list making helps me organize my thoughts, ideas, and inspiration… so it makes sense when I’m ready to be creative.
- Hop on Pinterest. Pinterest is such an incredible tool for figuring out what you like and don’t like. It’s a valuable inspiring resource (and my favorite social media outlet).
- Take photos. I’ve found perspective through a lens can allow you to see things differently. We always have our phones attached to us, so put that camera to good use!
- Go thrifting. Vintage shopping or thrift shopping is definitely inspiring for me, for obvious reasons.
- Watch a movie. I enjoy watching art films, movies with amazing set design & cinematography- or even movies that allow me to escape my creative block mindset. Sometimes you just need a reset.
- Practice a new creative skill. Find something outside your wheelhouse (pottery, painting, cake decorating, whatever!), and get creative in a way you normally wouldn’t. It really helps!
- Chat with other creatives. Having a creative community you can bounce ideas with is super important.
- Listen to music. Music is scientifically proven to boost creativity. Put it your headphones or crank up your speaker.
- Sort through saved inspiration. I feel like most creative people hoard their inspiration… in a desktop folder, in a file, on Pinterest, in a sketchpad, etc. Dig through your archives and ask yourself why you saved the inspiration in the first place.
- Look to history. I pull a lot of inspiration from history. Look at old magazines, art history, dive into the history of whatever it is you’re passionate about (furniture design, interior design, etc). Everything that is old becomes new again, and sometimes that is the best place to resurrect ideas.
- Try something new. Learning something new and stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to break a creative spell.
- Get creative in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, and shooting recipe posts for the blog are nice little “creative breaks” for me. They allow me to be creative in a different way.
- Change your attitude. If I’m feeling blah or creativity just isn’t coming easily, I check my attitude. If I’m in a crappy, pessimistic mood, there is no way I’ll produce something great. Sometimes I consciously have to improve my mood before I can be creative- OR accept that creativity is just not happening today, and move onto something else that is productive.
- Shower. It never fails- my best ideas happen in the shower. It’s weird, but as soon as I hop out, I grab my notepad and jot everything down. Try thinking in the shower… it works for me. Ha!
- Break your normal routine. Sometimes if I’m feeling stuck, I’ll take a drive instead of sitting behind my computer… anything that breaks your normal routine can help!
- Read a book. Reading (specifically fiction) helps me get out of head. I also read a lot of self help books, but those actually tend to stifle my creativity. I think a book that allows escapism and imagination are more likely to break a creative rut (at least for me).
- Get back to your roots. One of my first jobs was designing for a sign and vehicle shop. An older sign painter took me under his wing and taught me how to pinstripe muscle cars. I used to install graphics, sign paint, and pinstripe for many years. It had been ages since I had done any of that, but recently, I had the opportunity to get back to my roots for a project. It was a lot of fun and reminded me that you never really lose a skill and it pushed me in an old, familiar creative way.
I’ll also say this- nobody is creative 100% of the time. There are definitely times you’ll feel uninspired, but know that it isn’t permanent and this is all part of the process of producing amazing, creative ideas. I think the point is this… creativity looks different for everyone. From the time of day you are most creative to gathering inspiration that leads to a wonderful idea, figure out what works for YOU and embrace that process.
PS… I had to take a new headshot for an upcoming partnership I have in the works, so I figured I’d drop it in this post. I feel like it’s more applicable or heartfelt if you can see me (human-to-human) in personal posts. I will say- self portraits and using my camera with the timer is one of my LEAST favorite tasks. I didn’t feel creative at all doing this, as I’d rather be on the other side of the lens.
I want to hear how you break a creative rut! Where do you find inspiration? Where and when does creativity strike? As always, thank you for reading and sharing! I’m actually recharging right now, as we’re on vacation (finding lots of creative inspiration) in Oregon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday!