Creativity is a fickle beast.
Sometimes you hit a stride and you write for hours. So motivated that you finish that website design or campaign video early. But other days, your wastebasket is full of paper with half-completed sentences.
Your open Word Doc is as full as your mind. That is to say, blank.
So what do you do?
Here are some thoughts on what to do to keep the creativity flowing, both short-term, and long-term.
Life is all about balance. Some of the suggestions below may seem contrasting, but if you are like me, often times we lean towards one direction or another. Introvert or total extrovert. Flowers or metal. Sometimes we need to be reminded and given permission to do something differently. Especially for an introvert, sometimes we do so much by ourselves, that we need to be reminded that having friends is a good thing. If your an extrovert, maybe stop and look at the sky for a moment. Sometimes, if you put too much time into work, you could burn yourself out on something that you really love. By walking away every once in a while, you can keep your excitement fresh.
Keep Doing "It"
What ever that "it" is that you do, keep doing it. Being a starving artist only works if you are making art. And even if you aren't starving, committing yourself to putting something on a page, taking the camera out while you are walking, can help keep you motivated. One of my favorite quotes is, "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard." And it's true. How do you become a good artist? BY JUST DOING IT. Over and over and over and over.....
Be a Source of Inspiration for Others
Sometimes, the world can get really hard to look at. Just getting out of bed can be difficult when you are constantly inundated with news stories of pain and hurt. But the fact of the matter is, some of the most meaningful art comes out of desperate and hard times. When fear, apathy, and pain seem to be taking a lead, it becomes the artists ever important job to use their voice to bring hope and make change.
It's Okay to Make It Just to Make It
Making something that's pretty, just because you can or want to, is awesome! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in making something that has to MEAN something, or because it pays, that we forget what it's like to make something just for you and that makes you happy.
Get Lost in your Work
Allow yourself to get lost every once in a while. I'm someone who likes to have a schedule and a deadline to complete something. It's important to sometimes allow yourself to work on something and just live in the act of creation.
Getting outside of your typical work space is often a great way to kickstart or reboot your creative thinking process. Whether it's socializing with your friends, checking out the new bar down the street, trivia night at home, or simply bringing your camera out and people watching, you never know where the creative spark may hit.
Be Intentional with Your Time
My advice to creators that may feel overwhelmed is this: be intentional with your time. Take up a daily meditation practice. Meditation has greatly helped me with anxiety about deadlines, frustration with projects, and just general self care. Being intentional means knowing how to manage your time effectively, and learning when you need to say "no" to that project. By intentionally setting some time to focus on one thing, rather than 10 things, you may find that your productivity actually goes up.
Block out the Noise
Put down your phone. Commit to a time period where you don't look at your phone or a screen. Go read, take a walk, grab a coffee with a friend, maybe even vacuum your apartment. Take a second to unplug from your instagram and facebook feed and recenter yourself on the more important things in life.
Try Something New
Consider taking a class at your local library, signing up for an adults sports league, go see a new local band, or find an art shop doing a workshop on cake making or book binding. You never know who you may meet, or a new hobby that you may learn you love because you took a risk to go out there and try it.