Ahoy, Mateys! We’re heading out of April, and for many of you, that might mean finishing up another Camp NaNo project. Even if you’re not, this time of year can be tough for feeling inspired. The weather is changing, we want to get outside, and no one really feels like diving into a new (or even loved) project. You need a boost…a creativity boost!
I FEEL TAPPED OUT
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s from doing revisions for a deadline, or outlining a new project, sometimes we feel like we have nothing left. And now we’re expected to be brilliant and get something down on that blank page? Not gonna happen. Let’s face it, sometimes dinner barely happens. But there are ways to bring back that lovely, sparkling creative feeling. You just have to know how to tap into it.
START WITH A CHANGE
One of the best ways of dealing with the creative blahs is to do something different. No, I don’t mean begin a new project—that can cause more stress than just working on one thing. Changing up your writing routine can be helpful, from writing at a different time of day, to getting outside your comfort zone and writing someplace different. How about taking the laptop to the park? A nice sunny day and a quiet picnic table can do you a world of good. Or go to your local library. Being around all of those books can really inspire you.
BEGIN WRITING EACH DAY…BUT NOT YOUR PROJECT
Last fall, I taught a creativity course at my library, based on Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY, and in it, she claims that people looking for creative productivity should start each day doing something called ‘morning pages’. Essentially, these are three hand-written pages that you write every day, the moment you first wake up. Write about anything you want: what you feel like eating for breakfast, the conversation you had with your child’s teacher the day before, or simply write ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over until you hit your three pages. Trust me, all kinds of things will come out on these morning pages. I was skeptical at first, and thought they might be pointless (especially since I’m not exactly a morning person), but I found myself pouring out my frustrations on these pages by day three. And you know what? Suddenly, I was also figuring out solutions to my stresses! It works, but you MUST do it every day.
FIND OTHER CREATIVE OUTLETS
If you feel like you have nothing left for your main project, adding in new creative outlets probably seems counter-productive, but it’s not. It activates that creative muscle, and provides you with a new way at looking at all of your other work. Einstein used to pick up the violin when he was having an especially hard time with a problem. Often, it would relax him and help him to become unblocked, allowing the solutions to flow. Try a new class at the gym, take a pottery class, or go to one of those paint nights with your girlfriends. You might find yourself feeling inspired to get down to work.
SEE WHAT OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE DOING
No, I don’t mean spending all day online buying from Etsy shops. Go to a local craft show, visit a museum, or take a leisurely walk through an art gallery. The brain is an amazing thing, but it needs inspiration food once in a while. If you do something like this every week, you’ll stay inspired, and become less tapped out overall. It’s funny how doing things for ourselves—and knowing it is doing us good—feels less like wasting time, and more like we’re nurturing our creative souls.
So, the next time you find yourself tired and unable to write one more word, try going for a walk, or taking a new class. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you start seeing your own projects with a fresh eye and a light heart.