What to Do When You’re Drawing a Blank








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!

Megan Petersen

Megan Petersen has written 1 posts in this blog.

Megan Petersen is the owner and beader behind Megan's Beaded Designs, where she sells jewelry, hair accessories, and patterns for fellow beaders. She also run a blog at BeadingForBusiness.com where she offers tips and how-tos for her fellow handmade sellers.



These are great tips. I use the time limit idea, myself, and it can get me out of some strong procrastination ruts. “I’m just going to sketch ideas for a half hour, then I can go something else.” That half hour usually turns into a couple of hours, and I’ve done a lot more than just sketch.

Something else that works when I’m feeling blank is similar to your no-brainer idea, but it’s doing *nothing*. It’s counter-intuitive to stop working when I *have to* get something done, but I’ll go do something completely different, like go to an art museum, walk in the park, or visit botanical gardens. Anything contemplative and serene. When I get back, I can knock out whatever I was working on pretty quickly.

Of course, that latter idea works best if you make yourself work again when you get back, instead of going off to do the laundry/grocery shopping/flossing the cat/anything-but-work…

What say you?