When the Well Runs Dry

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How to Kickstart Your Creativity with 10 Tips

Whether you’re a cabinetmaker, a writer, a photographer or painter, you’ve probably run into some version of writer’s block, when it seems like nothing is working and there’s no way to kickstart your creativity. Creative types rely on an inner muse or drive that provides the fodder for that next novel, painting, wooden bowl or sunset picture.

Kickstart your creativity by imagining this scene or one of your own

But when the muse is asleep or when it feels like she’s on an extended vacation, creative people often have to turn to the same motivators as the rest of the world: inner drive and previous experience. And when you make a living from your creative pursuits, usually you can’t afford to join your muse lying around lazily in the clouds. Instead, you’ve got to produce. You have to find a way to kickstart your creativity … no matter what.

You’re in Good Company

No creative personality runs on 24/7/365 creative juices. As author Philip Roth put it: “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” There’s nary a man or woman alive who hasn’t run into a dry spell. It happens, and when it does, it feels nigh impossible to produce anything even close to bordering on original.

That doesn’t mean you’re no good at what you do — which is something your ego may be shouting. And it certainly doesn’t mean you need to find a new line of work … at least, that shouldn’t be your first impulse necessarily. If you let Nellie Negativity ruin your show, then maybe you can’t cut it as a professional creative.

10 Tips to Kickstart Your Creativity

If you prefer to knock Negative Nellie off her perch and wade through those dark days when your muse flies the coop — whether you do it for a paycheck or just to save your integrity — try a few of these tips, sure to kickstart your creativity, or at least save you from sinking deeper in the mire of mediocrity:

  1. Listen to Salvador Dali, who said: “Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.” And let go of any illusions that you can, or even have to be, perfect.
  2. Walk away. Take a day off. Walk away for a couple hours if that’s all the time you have. Sometimes, just moving your body can kickstart your creativity by mixing up your endorphins that make you normally so creativity productive.
  3. Change your mind. Leave a project that seems to have you stuck and move on to one that continues to hold your attention. It’s just a matter of priming the pump. After a bit, when you can go back to that dry hole, you’ll find it’s not so empty after all.
  4. Close your eyes and take a head trip back to a time when you were cranking out the poetry or painting up a fury of beautiful canvasses. Remember who you are, and your muse will come running back to be by your side as you kickstart your creativity right off the charts.
  5. Let your fingers do the work. Get your mind out of the way and just start typing, drawing, molding, whatever it is you do. Your hands have muscle memory; they’ll go about creating whatever they do best. Trust your body to take your creative mind where it needs to be.
  6. Forget about the money for a minute. Sure, you need to pay the bills, but you know in your heart, you’ll do that. Instead, kickstart your creativity with a joke on your muse. Laughter is good for the soul and for your creativity. Remember what Robert Benchley says: “The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”
  7. Call a good friend. You’ve got at least a couple friends or family members who love you and support what you do. They also love to see your finished products, so call them and ask them to remind you how talented you really are and how much they — and the whole world — need you.
  8. Cruise the internet. Set a time limit because you know how time can just get lost when you dive deep into web searches. Just troll around your favorite sites or search for lists like this one. Kickstart your creativity with someone else’s ideas; it’s OK to get inspiration from others. You’re not the only one with a muse.
  9. Look to the heavens and to whichever higher power you pray to. Meditate. Turn off all the voices in your head that want to enter the void left by your muse. They do not have your best interests in mind. When you empty your head, your heart has room to expand.
  10. Get outside. This one works especially well if your creative work keeps you locked in a room or studio. The air, sunlight, stars, wind, cold or heat … the birds, smells and all the sensations of the outdoors … nature itself can awaken a sleeping muse.

Whatever you choose to do to kickstart your creativity, do it with a carefree attitude. Do it as if no one is watching. Actually try doing it when no one is watching. It’s the ego who steals the muse from you; she’s really never far from your heart. You just have to dig deep to find her. Now that you have, go create something only you can!

Posted by on January 16, 2018 in Writing

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