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Busting Out of a Creative Rut

The number one confession I get from other creatives – “I’m in a creative rut.”

Part of my “Glow Portrait Series” My 2019 Mission - to Inspire.

Part of my “Glow Portrait Series” My 2019 Mission – to Inspire.

You are in a slump; no creative ideas are coming; you don’t want to make something, you are bored with what you are doing. You are afraid people won’t like it if you try something new. You can’t shake it…

Where does inspiration come from? And why oh why isn’t it visiting me?

Give Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” a read…

Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.

— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Let those ideas bloom.

Let those ideas bloom.

Before we dive into ideas of breaking out of this rut we speak of, let’s manage expectations – I’m not sure we are designed to be original, creative, fresh, innovative, a freakin’ rock-star every second of the day. Check-in with yourself. What is at the root? And what are your expectations for your creativity?

Then take my hand and let’s climb out of this rut, it’s kinda dark in here and color is more fun.

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Make Space – Mentally

Nap. Meditate. Take a Salt Bath. Rest and Relax. Reset.

You know your favorite way. When was the last time you did it? Be honest with yourself.

I love a good Netflix viewing party, but it doesn’t entirely give me the full restore. Can you be screen-free? (No judgment here) Then you can indeed be one of those people that say “I get my best ideas in the shower.”

Do you need to free write in a journal? Brain dump so you have room for other things to swirl in that mind. If something comes up again and again, maybe your creativity is best used to think differently about what the page is showing you.

For you moms, I know it’s hard to get and ask for this personal time, but you will come back a better mom, and even if things aren’t perfect when you return, everyone will be alive and happy. Or they will be cranky and sugar-fueled, but you will be able to handle it better with your new mindset.

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Move Your Body

Play in your skin.

Move Your Body

Walk in Nature. Get to your favorite workout class. Try a new one and break that routine. Stream a youtube video of a yoga sequence. Throw a dance party with your kids. Get those oh so good endorphins going.

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Make Space – Physically

Create the space of your dreams.

Make Space Physically

Your physical environment has soooo much impact on you. Tidy up your office. Add a plant or 103 plants. A new piece of art from the flea market. That inspiring sign. Go in with the intention to make it your dream creative space. Go ahead and go on Pinterest for #officegoals and see what you can do with the furniture you already have. Paint it yellow. Go nuts, or rearrange the way your desk faces. Switch rooms. Be excited to sit down in that space of new and fresh energy. Got a portable option – go somewhere inspiring. Library. Coffee Shop. A Field. You know your vibes.

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Seek it out.

You’re going a on a bear hunt…

Look for it.

Actively going looking for ideas and store them. Challenge yourself.

Use all your senses if you need to. Can you photograph a feeling? Draw a Song?

I have a pinboard and box of magazine clippings and ideas I have collected over the years. More than I can probably create, but I can revisit when I want to try something new. Open the box and pull one out.

Also look at other types of art. I spend time researching various art forms that make me happy and inspired – the texture of clay, the lighting on the hills of a landscape painting…. Visit an art gallery. Walkthrough stores – the Anthropologie displays are my Disneyland. Take yourself on an Artist Date. (Thank you, The Artist Way ) Nature has colors that never clash. Follow your curiosity.


Let Your Kid Out

The little child inside that just does things for fun…

The little child in you that is not afraid of wasting time, what someone will think… let them play. Take that risk.

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Do it.

Be accountable.

Not for them, for you.

Be ready when the big things come by practicing now.

Be Accountable

This is a big one for me. I have a lot of ideas, but unless I am accountable for something or to someone, they often fall to the bottom of the list for another day that does not come replaced by a dozen new ideas. Especially if someone isn’t paying me to do them.

You can join a local meet up groups – we have one in the Bay Area for Photographers (Let me know if you want to join us!)

Traveling Dress Projects are great.

Online Forums (The Unraveled Academy has great lessons to push the boundaries

Follow accounts that post prompts on social media.

Commit. Do it. If nothing else than to say to yourself and the universe – I’m not going to back down. I’m going to create.

Let’s create some dreamy images of you expressing your wildest, truest self.