Here are some ideas on how to stay inspired creatively! If you are anything like me, you want to stay inspired to create more, spend less time distracted and spend more time creating. I believe we’re all creative. However, sustained and fresh creativity over time requires work and cultivation on our part.
Some days you can feel such momentum and ease to your outflow of creativity, and other days or weeks or even more, it can feel like a push – like a struggle to get anything out. That’s where this cultivation comes in.
No matter what you believe your current creative capacity to be, you can be intentional in figuring out how to really see that creativity grow and come alive.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned over time that feed and inspire me, and my hope is that they do the same for you!
Tip #1 – Have a Creative Hobby
Try to have at least one or two hobbies from which you do not make money and never plan to make money.
Right now, my hobby is baking bread! Many of us learned how to make bread during quarantine. There are so many details when it comes to baking bread. Learning the ins and outs of it, the mechanics, the sciences, the nuances of temperature, and the ingredients I’m using has deeply affected my creating processes.
It has shown me to take time and precision, and this thread now weaves through all of the areas that I get to create.
Working on a hobby helps me be able to put down my work and focus on something that is merely for enjoyment. I’m able to learn and grow in ways that I can’t really quantify, but I can in the way that when I wake up the next morning – when I go to work -that hobby has fueled me to do my work better and to even think about my work through a different lens.
I really like to think of creativity like sourdough bread. Sourdough bread is made from a sourdough starter. Sourdough starter is just water and flour, and it’s fed daily. The bacteria and the air are feeding it and causing it to grow and double in size. As I’m feeding it day after day, the flavors are growing and creating more depth and nuances.
The more I take care of and feed my sourdough starter, the better the outcome will be.
But, the thing is, every day, I have to discard part of that starter. So, I’m discarding the starter, which can go on to be given to a friend for their bread baking. Or, it can go on to create another meal or another loaf of bread. It may initially seem like I’m just getting rid of it, but really it’s not only going to live on in what I make or give to others. It also makes room for the rest of the starter to continue to thrive.
I think of creativity in these terms. It’s not this pie that you don’t have any more left when you’re out of pie. It’s more like a well that continues to grow and continues to provide sustenance. The more you feed creativity, the more you work on it, the more you give to others, and the more it will be fed.
Creativity isn’t just something that dries up in you. Of course, there are times when you might not feel creative, but maybe that’s because you need to take up a hobby. I love the idea that creating and giving to this hobby is creating more space within me to receive more ideas, learn more, and grow in my craft.
Tip #2 – Go Out and be Inspired
My next tip is to go out and be inspired!
Don’t just look to be inspired by Pinterest or social media because that can feel overwhelming and unachievable. When I get out and get inspired, I take a notebook with me; with this, I will simply notice.
A big part of creativity is just making a habit of intentionally noticing and being able to pick up on the details. Just seeing the bark on a tree, its depth, and its shape could inspire the next pattern design for a quilt you’re making or a short story to write.
When you take time to get outside, you’re not confined to what you see every day. You’re not confined to the things that other people are creating and getting overwhelmed by that. It’s giving you a new perspective to see that when you get outside, you see these things that have lasted throughout the years, and yet, there isn’t a cap on their beauty and creativity. It’s there. You just have to take notice of it.
Tip #3 – Start Small
I have learned to start small and not feel like I have to have all the right tools right away when I start something.
When you dive into a new skill or project, feel like you have to have the best tools or the best gear, and look like a professional from the beginning, you are stifling your creativity. You’re putting a cap on yourself because when you start small with limited tools, it’s the prime opportunity to solve a problem and figure out the unique take only you can offer.
I believe we have a fear (because I also have this fear) of being wrong and doing things the wrong way. But when we live out of that fear, it is stifling what’s inside of us. And when that’s stifled, it’s not the well I spoke of earlier. It dims that creativity, and you cannot come out of a creative rut when you act out of fear.
So, here is your permission to start small, to start with what you have and where you are right now. I believe that the right tools are important, but if you put off starting until you have everything in order, then you have no room to grow and no room to see your creativity evolve. Without that process, it’s possible you might just end up creating copies of what’s already out there.
When you’re limited in your smallness, you’re really tapping into the greatness of what’s inside of you and the uniqueness of your perspective. You’ll be able to create something that’s so original because it is who you are – expressed through your art.
Through this creativity, it’s okay to revisit old projects, ask yourself how they could be better, and then execute again. I believe you get better at things by trying and then trying again. That goes along with being good at editing, paring down, removing the fluff, and curating.
We often think that you have to add many layers to be creative, but maybe you’re finding your true creativity when you add and edit. It may look unimpressive to someone else, but I think that the art that I’m most moved by is when someone has edited and pared down. It looks simple. That is what I want to fill more of my life with – this thought-through and beautiful art.
Ok, so how can we really start making these things a priority?
First, take time every day to practice a hobby.
I know this is a big ask, but hear me out. It’s easy to say that you don’t have time and to use that as an excuse, but the more we create excuses, the more our creativity is stifled.
Whether that’s five minutes of writing, ten minutes of drawing, or an hour of sewing – whatever it is, when you take time daily, it’s compounding upon itself, and creativity can flow more freely and you’ll stay inspired creatively.
A big “aha moment” I had recently was when I was creating this silly stop-motion and enjoying it and having fun! I was creating and learning some new things when I suddenly noticed this voice in my head saying, “you must be bored.”
I realized this is something I’ve heard said to me that I’ve taken on and repeated to myself. The phrase “you must be bored. you must be bored” is something I heard a lot growing up. I’d hear it when I wanted to spend my time drawing and making books out of construction paper rather than what all the other kids were doing.
I think this idea that you have to have a reason to create something is actually fear. It is a lie of someone else’s perspective and a projection of what they deem worthy of spending time on. But you simply won’t create great things out of fear.
You’ll continue the cycle of creating what has already been when you’re creating out of fear, and that lie of “you must be bored” or whatever phrases you repeat in your head. Like I said earlier, it’s different for everyone, but when you give in to that idea that has to have a reason, I think it takes away from our creativity organically flowing through us.
It starts to put our creativity in a box of what’s already been when we try to put a reason to everything. I think it becomes stale, and that will actually dry up your creativity. It will motivate you to stop creating and using your time for your hobbies and the things that are spilling over into the people around you.
Second, carve out inspiration breaks.
Whether that’s going on a walk, taking a nap, or setting a 15-minute timer to write, I recommend creating special rituals that help you fully embrace a moment. It could be filling a pot of tea, lighting a candle, sitting in your favorite chair, and cozying up with a blanket. Set the scene and create space to be inspired.
It may seem frivolous, but when you’re setting the tone and carving out the special time, you’ll be surprised at how it just spills over and inspires so many other parts of your life.
I hope this inspired you to create more, and hopefully, it gave you a few ideas on cultivating a more creative lifestyle.
I would love to hear your thoughts! So, you can comment below or tag me on Instagram, and we can continue the conversation on how to stay inspired creatively.