11 IDEAS TO END THE CREATIVE DRY SPELL AND GET RE-INSPIRED
Summertimeeeeee and the livin’s rainy…
Here in New Hampshire, our Summer has been off to a wet start! We had rain 24/30 days in June! 24/30 I tell you!! For a gal’ like me who LIVES for Summer, and doesn’t really see the need for any other season, this is not OK!
The June weather had me feeling a little “blah” when it came to content creation, and just generating creatively in my business. I think I was also battling a minor existential crisis, but when are we not, amiright?
Blame it on the rain, but sometimes it’s just hard to find creative inspiration and get moving.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe sometimes you sit down to write, create content, map out a content plan, send a single email, record a podcast episode, write a chapter for your book… but… the creative well has run dry, you’re parched as you trudge through the Creative Sahara and NOTHING is coming to you.
This blog will help you unblock the writer’s block and find your way back to the creative spark and inspiration within. I provide eleven ideas and resources for you to use in finding creative inspiration again.
ELEVEN IDEAS FOR FINDING CREATIVE INSPIRATION
1) Go Easy on Yourself
The moment you start beating yourself up, using negative self-talk, and bemoaning the fact that you just can’t seem to get inspired is the moment the creative muse just shrinks further back into the shadows. It hears you getting mad at it and says, “Uh oh, I do NOT want to be around that person. They seem to be searching and searching and searching for me and I can only imagine it’s because I’m in trouble.” Be kind to yourself, go easier on yourself, and speak to your creativity like a friend. It’s there waiting to peek its head out again, often the very moment you ease up.
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
2) Get Started.
Oh my gosh, Emily… seriously, with the no-brainers like that? Ok, stick with me here. You can’t force inspiration BUT you can reinforce its appearance with habits and getting started. Most often, when I find myself sittin’ around waiting for inspiration, it doesn’t fall magically from the sky. It ends up looking a whole lot like procrastinating or just not doing the thing. Sometimes just putting a habit or routine in place where you sit down and get started, you will start to watch it unfold before your very eyes. Commit to writing X words per day, even if they’re crappy words. Commit to blocking out from 2-3pm per day to post, even if you don’t think you have any idea of what to say. Sit down to start working on recording your podcast episode. Even if you just start by getting out “Blah, blah, blah” for three days, you’ve started to create a habit and routine around creativity.
Especially when I feel unmotivated on a client or business-related project, this is my go-to. The moment I just decide to start SOMEWHERE is when creativity starts to spark to life. If I sit around and WAIT for inspiration or motivation before getting started, they don’t usually show up.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso
3) Take a Walk (or a Shower!)
We’re probably all well aware of “shower thoughts”. They also exist as walk thoughts. If the standard shower and walk trick isn’t doing it for you, take a walk in a different direction, on a new street, with a friend, without a friend, in the woods, with your dog, without your dog. Take a cold shower, take a hot shower, and take a hot and cold shower. Do something different than your norm and do hop in and rinse off!
4) Take a Break.
When I say “take a break”, I don’t mean go lie in a puddle on the floor. I mean, you can, but first, try this instead. Try working on something LESS creative. Something mundane. Downright boring. Do your business metrics for the month, enter your mileage, do your Quickbooks, or organize a closet. I recently was working on a kind of dry, logical, informational client project that wasn’t very “creative”. It was a little more art than science if you will. As I was working on it, my body was SCREAMING creative ideas at me!! I had to keep pausing to jot things down until I could act on them (I don’t like to get distracted when working for clients) and then as soon as I was done, I rewarded myself by putting that creative fire to work, FAST. The same thing often happens when I’m driving, cleaning my house, scrubbing my toilets, organizing a closet – basically anything that isn’t creative can actually be the KEY to unlocking a thunderstorm of creativity.
5) Go Down Memory Lane.
Your past content is a great source for finding creative inspiration. When you’re diving into your social media, blog, or podcast past, you can literally cut and paste directly or you can rework it into something entirely new! I love going through past content and giving it a fresh spin. Other great memory lane sources include:
- the photos on your phone
- perusing old journals
- diving into old emails you’ve sent
- flipping through yearbooks.
Even that bin in your basement with all those tests you’ve saved from college (just me??) can help you find inspiration, spark creativity, and a whole lot of fun stories!
6) Phone a Friend (or a Client!)
If you’re stuck and don’t know what to say, it can be super helpful to ask a client or a friend if they have a sense. I often ask friends, clients, and my community what they’re feeling and then go create a resource or content to help with that exact thing.
7) Tie Up a Loose End.
For some of you, this means closing ALL OF THOSE TABS ON YOUR COMPUTER. Yes, I see you. Yes, it hurts a part of me deep down inside. It could also look like cleaning out your inbox, replying to unread messages, wrapping up a project and sending off the deliverables, calling your vet or dentist, buying yourself the new bra you’ve been putting off for three years, putting something in the mail, returning a library book. Crossing something off your list (or multiple things) is a great avenue to finding creative inspiration and sparking ideas. I also find decluttering (physical or digital) has a similar effect, as well as moving around furniture, plants, cleaning off my desk, or purging just about anything!
8) Make Your Environment Cozy!
You can use smells, music, lighting, textures, candles, whatever feels good to you to make yourself a cozy little creativity nook. I personally love working with piano music (without lyrics), alpha waves, or binaural beats to help me during creative times. You might do your best work cranking Led Zeppelin’, Aerosmith, or Ed Sheeran. You do whatever works for you. Tapping into smells, sounds, lighting, and making your environment a place uniquely yours can be wildly beneficial for finding creative inspiration. One suggestion I have here is NOT to try to listen to a podcast or watch YouTube while actually working. AND…
9) You Might Need to Take a Break From Consuming Content.
Sometimes I find that ALLLLLL the stuff I consume – podcasts, conversations, written content, and social media group interactions can crush my creativity. As I fill myself up with what others are doing, I can sometimes find myself comparing, feeling behind, or just devoid of my own unique thoughts and ideas. I’ve been taking far more breaks and making my social media time few and far between these days and If I am consuming it’s podcasts and books I’ve intentionally chosen and conversations with friends, moreso than online content. Conversely, some of you reading this might need to actually start consuming MORE to be creative. It’s amazing how sometimes that can help trigger something too! Sometimes hearing something talk about something makes you realize your own unique spin and thoughts on it and off you go to creativity town!
10) Change it Up.
All the great creatives will tell you that when you’re feeling stuck – you need to mix it up! Sometimes we need more routine, sometimes we’re too structured and need less. Here are some other ideas: Try writing a paragraph of sheer and utter fiction. If you always write fiction, write memoir style, or a poem, or a short story, or an essay. Do the opposite of what you normally do – if you always start with your newsletter, start with social instead, if you always start with social, start with your newsletter. Go somewhere. Stay home all day. Write in your favorite notebook. Write in your least favorite notebook. Write with a different pen. Write standing up instead of sitting down. Go to a coffee shop to work. You get the idea.
“To vary your inspiration, consider varying your inputs. Turn the sound off to watch a film, listen to the same song on repeat, read only the first word of each sentence in a short story, arrange stones by size or color, learn to lucid dream. Break habits.” – Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being
11) Generate LESS.
My last idea for finding creative inspiration is to genuinely take a break from generating as much as you are. Create LESS and take something off your plate. I did this in the month of June in various ways. I didn’t write my usual ninety blogs a month and just gave myself permission to generate less until I felt otherwise. My natural M.O. is to keep on going, keep on pushing through and I found that giving myself a big ol’ break was just what I needed. I can see how if you’re always procrastinating or making excuses or always giving yourself a break, it might not work.
If you’re the type who continuously puts off creative projects and pushes them further and further down the list… I’d ask you to dig a little deeper:
- Why am I so committed to putting this off?
- Why am I struggling to sit down and do this thing?
- What’s behind the resistance? (fear, frustration, something else?)
What’s really going on for you, my friend?
Maybe you’re just not that into it anymore. Maybe you’ve lost curiosity around it. Maybe there’s too much pressure for it to sell, promote, get people to sign up, buy…
Only you can answer, but digging deeper is a good place to start.
Let me know if you try any of these and how it goes for you!
RESOURCES FOR FINDING CREATIVE INSPIRATION:
The Content with Character Podcast: A never-ending wellspring of creative ideas!
Erin Ollila’s Nothing You Write Will Ever Be Good Enough – episode of the Talk Copy to Me Podcast
- JOIN ME in The Marketing Momentum Lab!
- Storytime Hypnosis with Karen Kenney LIVE
- Storytime Hypnosis with Karen Kenney AUDIO SHOP
Join a community focused on creativity and generating ideas!! In my six-week Marketing Momentum Lab, we do JUST THAT! This is a cozy-knit small group where we focus on content creation, increasing our collaborations, creating with consistency, and gaining tons of creative ideas and feedback from one another. We take action as we experiment in out-of-the-box creative ways around marketing and visibility.