What to Do When You’re Drawing a Blank

 

 

 

 

 

be-creative

 

This is a guest post by Megan Petersen of Beading for Business.

When you’re in the business of being a creative, you don’t have the luxury of only creating when you feel like it. You are required to be creative almost every single day, and sometimes the well of creativity you draw from runs dry or your initial inspiration disappears. So what can you do? Projects have deadlines and products need to be created in order for you to have enough inventory to sell. When you can’t afford to take a break, but are still drawing a blank, there is one simple thing you can do to get your creativity going again.

Even though it may seem counter-intuitive at first, one of the quickest way to jump-start your creative brain-pathways is to set up limitations or boundaries on your creative tasks.

For example, if you are stuck coming up with a new lines of seasonal products, you can assign the boundary that all of the items need to be made with the color blue, or that the entire collection needs to be nautical-themed. Having a list of random “homework-esque” assignments on hand for when you’re feeling lax in the development stage will ensure that you never run out of ideas for what to make.

Similarly, setting limitations on your marketing tasks can have the same effect. You could, for example, assign all of June’s blog posts to be travel-themed, or every Facebook post in July to include an inspirational quote.

By setting up a theme or direction, now you know exactly what you need to do to get started, or at least, have a general sense of where to go.

If you’re still struggling to get going, set up a time limitation for your creative task.

For example, work on blogging for 25 minutes from 9:00 to 9:25 a.m., and only for 25 minutes. Knowing you have to work on a creative task for only a short, set amount of time makes the idea of working on it less daunting. Even if you only come up with a couple of choked paragraphs, at least you’ll have some content to work off of during your next session.

Still procrastinating?

Switch to a “no-brainer” task for a short time to take your mind off of it. Likely, your subconscious will come up with the solution to your motivational problems while it’s getting some much-needed rest. (Just remember that social media doesn’t count as a “no-brainier” task, preferably pick something that doesn’t involve a screen to fully switch your brain over into another mode, such as organizing your craft supplies or walking the dog.) This is why so many people come up with brilliant ideas in the shower or while exercising. Sometimes all it takes is a little rest for your brain to re-fill its creative juices.

Now I’d like to hear from you!

What tips can you share for pumping out creative work even when inspiration is on vacation? Share them in the comments below!

3 Ways to Get Your Creative Spark Back

 

 

 

 

take time to get creative

When I first started Gingiber, it was just me in the corner of my living room with a little desk, my laptop, & a sewing machine. I would come home from my day job, wait to put my daughter to bed, and then stay up into the late hours of the night creating.

It seemed like no big deal, the sacrifice of sleep in order to create prints and pillows to sell in my Etsy shop! But then the business began to grow. I found myself working on things like spreadsheets and filing for business licenses, prepping for craft shows and packaging orders.

Where did all of my fun creative time and energy go?

 

If you’ve experienced the same, here are 3 strategies to get it back!

 

1. Schedule Creative Time

As my business grew, I had to decide to give myself permission to take one day a week & do nothing but create! Currently it is Tuesdays. I have a babysitter come to my home and watch my daughter for a few hours while I go to my home office and work on new ideas, freelance, etc. But it wasn’t until I made Tuesdays an essential need for the business that I felt my creative energy soar!

Do you have a few hours that you can consistently schedule every week for brainstorming & sketching – or whatever your creative equivalent is?

Make it a priority.

 

2. Avoid the Sophomore Slump: Don’t Over Think It

Years ago, I had literally 1 successful illustration that was selling quite a bit. It was my Owlphabet print. I tried to create more similar work, but couldn’t produce anything that I felt was equally as good. I knew that I was supposed to create work that I loved, but nothing else that I drew seemed like it would ever be as popular as the Owlphabet!

That is when I decided to start sketching every single day. Even if it was just a no meaning doodle in the corner of a notebook. I started saving every sketch. Then one day I went through them and pulled out some of my favorites. Out of my daily sketches came the idea to create a calendar, and soon that led to my next successful product line, an Owl Calendar (I guess owls were all the rage back then)! I finally got my groove back because I stopped over thinking it and just created!

Where does your creative inspiration come from?

 

3. Take a Break From Work!

This is where I need to take my own advice. I literally never stop working. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I was sewing pillows while having contractions that were 3 minutes apart because I desperately wanted my orders to go out on time! Yikes! Talk about work obsessed!

What I am learning from my workaholic tendencies is that I can put myself completely on the back burner. When was the last time I did something nice for myself? As the “Creative Director” of Gingiber, if I don’t take care of my personal wellness, eventually it will lead to burnout. I don’t want that!

I am making it a priority next quarter to take some time away from the business every week to be alone, sip some coffee, and give myself permission to turn off the Gingiber portion of my brain.

What do you treat yourself to? A vacation? Weekly coffee dates with a non-work friend? Getting away from the business is healthy!