Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

The Creative Cycle


{I am having an INSANE week – on top of normal life, I’m prepping for 3 talks, including Problogger next week, as well as doing this market on the weekend, so I’ve pulled this classic post out of the archives of another blog of mine. It’s a topic that we all face at some stage (some of us more than others!) in our creative careers – I’d love to hear your experiences with the Creative Cycle in the comments.}

Do you ride the Creative Cycle?

Let me tell you, until recently, parts of the Creative Cycle would freak me out.

When I’m on the up, my mind is buzzing. I get up at strange, unnatural hours of the morning (like right now – it’s 4:40am… and I’m ridiculously wide-eyed and brimming with ideas). I spend literally all my waking moments thinking *cough* obsessing *cough* about my creative business.


This can’t last. If I lived like this constantly, I’d wind up a gibbering mess before long. That’s when Lull needs to mosey into my mind.

Let me introduce you to Lull.

He (he’s a he for me, perhaps he’s a she for you, or a cat.. yes, a cat would make a very good Lull) is one of your muses.

Every so often, he’ll sidle up to you, hand you a mental V&T (I do like gin, but I’m a vodka girl at heart), and say “hey… it’s time to chill out, man, juuuust for a few days or so. Before your highly-strung creative kick makes you explode into quivery bits of jelly”.

This is the Creative Cycle.

The continual round of inspiration and lull that characterises the creative mind.

The ‘relaxation’ phase, when Lull makes a visit, used to freak me out. I’d feel like crying from the hills “I’ve lost my inspiration!” while I actually sat reading copious sci-fi novels and watching DVD’s. I would fret that that was it, I was done – I’d never have the drive to create again, my business was in jeopardy – basically, I’d just have myself a little mini-freakout.

Then – it would all come flooding back. That insane creative energy that fills me with inspiration and motivation.

Finally, I realised that – far from being a problem – this Creative Cycle was a perfectly natural rhythm.

Cycles area part of life – even nature needs to take it easy once a year and give itself a break from all the spring/summer/autumn  abundance. And we ladies know aaaallll about cycles, am I right?

I’ve now learnt (just) to accept Lull into my mind when he pays a visit, rather than hurling mental crockery at him.

I am secure that the Creative Cycle will do its thing, and that there is both a time to rest, and a time to be productive.

Now I use my Lull time – I enjoy it: I catch up on a few good books; I’ll often clean my workspace of clutter; sometimes work on some mundane business tasks; continue to make orders that come through…

The Lull is not something to be afraid of, or lament. Just like winter, you’ll find yourself thawing into your creative springtime before you know it.

{I didn’t come up with the idea of Lull the muse, Jill Badonsky did.}


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



I am being (amiably) forced into a creative lull – tomorrow I fly to Hawaii (first time in 22 years) to see my first granddaughter/child. The trip has been in the works for months (she is a year and a half old already), and the date is finally HERE!
I get to see my old haunts (I was a cabdriver for three years on Oahu, so I know my way around) and some new places. too (I have a ‘gotta go here’ list two feet long!). I ‘might’ search out some vintage and recyclables, but no working.
And since I have been land-locked for 14 years, I am going to float in the ocean and get sand in all the wrong places and sunburn into toast!
Not thrilled about flying for 12+ hours, but it is a means to an end, right?

p.s. I’m kidding about the burn – I wear a BIG hat, a muumuu and use zinc sunblock.


Oh Ginger, that sounds wonderful!! Have a fantastic time 🙂

What say you?