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How to Find Creative Inspiration and Stay Inspired: Tips for Writers and Artists

Updated on March 25, 2014
randomcreative profile image

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

The Milwaukee Art Museum, Summer 2012
The Milwaukee Art Museum, Summer 2012 | Source

Whether you write or create art for a hobby or as a career, it can be easy to stagnate when the creative ideas aren't flowing or to burn out all together when you're pushing through rough times. If you are facing either of these dilemmas, don't despair. There are many simple strategies that you can use to bring new inspiration to your daily routine. Once you have rejuvenated this routine, don't be afraid to mix it up once in a while and to take the time to re-evaluate.

A year of daily art in 5 minutes

Even when you're not ready to start working on another project right now, pull the supplies that you need so you're ready to go later.
Even when you're not ready to start working on another project right now, pull the supplies that you need so you're ready to go later. | Source
  • Set goals for yourself. I have daily, weekly, and yearly goals. This helps me stay organized on a daily basis and to keep a perspective on my long term progress. Figure out what makes the most sense for you.
  • Get organized. I know that we would all rather be creating than organizing. However, staying organized is crucial for productivity. Develop an organization system for your supplies and work space(s) and stick with it.
  • Get regular exercise. This may seem like a random point. Obviously exercise is important for everyone. When you have a job that requires sitting most of the day, make a point to get up and move throughout the day or at least several times a week. Even a 10-15 minute walk can make a big difference.
  • Join a writing or artist critique group or forum. No matter what stage you are at with your writing or art, you should be getting it out there. You don't have to be part of a formal group or class to make this happen. One reason that I enjoy Etsy teams is for the feedback that I get from fellow sellers.
  • Always have a new project in the works. Even when life gets crazy and you aren't working on a new project every day, it's nice to have that next idea there waiting for you. It also makes it easier to work for small periods at a time when you don't have to start from scratch every time.
  • Brainstorm. I know that I stress this all the time, but it is a huge factor for my consistency with writing and Etsy listings. You do not have to use all of the ideas that you brainstorm, but it keeps your thought process moving.
  • Listen to music. This is not essential, but finding the right music and radio programs to fit different tasks throughout my day makes a big difference with my productivity. The music that I listen to while I write is not necessarily the same as the music I listen to while I'm out walking.

Beautiful Light Music - easy smooth inspirational - long playlist by relaxdaily: Ocean Breeze

  • Read quality blogs with rich images. There are so many creative blogs out there that fit just about every creative niche. Create a blog roll or reader list with blogs that feed your inspiration.
  • Spend productive time browsing online. This does not mean spending a couple hours pinning tons of wedding dresses on Pinterest when you aren't even engaged. Set a time limit for your browsing and spend time on specific searches that are relevant for your current projects and interests.
  • Get off the computer and read books and magazines. Obviously there are tons of great resources online, but it can help mix up your day by spending time reading off of the computer, too. The library can be a great asset for this.
  • Talk with like minded friends and family about your work on a regular basis. Communicate with people who will build you up, not bring you down.
  • Participate in challenges. It is easy to get comfortable and let your work stagnate. Push yourself to find new challenges and opportunities so that you keep growing and learning.

I like to mix up my routine with little excursions in Milwaukee during the week.
I like to mix up my routine with little excursions in Milwaukee during the week. | Source
  • Take mini field trips. Whether you are by yourself or with family or friends, mix up your routine with a little field trip. It doesn't have to be far from home. If it will be inspiring to bring your camera with you, put it in your bag. If it just adds another task, leave it behind.
  • Switch up your medium, topic, or themes. One of the best ways to stay fresh is to explore something new. There are so many ways to do this. It can be something simple like writing about a new topic or it can be a big endeavor like learning a brand new skill set for an art technique.
  • Take time off, even if you aren't taking a vacation. We all need a mental health day once in a while. Whether you write or create art as a hobby or a job, there is no need to beat yourself up for not producing new work every day. A day or two off sometimes can increase your productivity when you do return to work.

Take the time to evaluate and reorganize your supplies on a regular basis.
Take the time to evaluate and reorganize your supplies on a regular basis. | Source

TIPS: Creative Craft Organization

  • Eliminate parts of your online routine that are a drain. For example, if you find that keeping up with Twitter is a headache and not very productive for you, give it up.
  • If you have set long term goals, re-evaluate them on a regular basis. It can be a huge boost to see how much progress you've made. Don't be afraid to change goals as needed.
  • Refresh and/or reorganize your workspace. If you're tired of looking at the same things on your office walls every day, take sometime to create and/or purchase some new pieces. Are you frustrated because your current organizational system isn't working so well anymore? Step back and figure out how you can make some updates. Even making a couple simple changes to your work areas can make a big difference.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not only is this well-written and not only does it have great information, but is is pleasing to the eye. You did a very good job of preparing it and making it enjoyable to read and look at. Well done Rose!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Billy!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Randomcreative I appreciate this hub because although most of the time I feel overloaded with ideas I do find that I become more productive after exercising, taking a day off, or going on a road trip. In fact I'm on a quick road trip today. Voted up and useful. Kelley

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Kelley! I'm pretty much the same way. I am almost never at a loss for ideas, but I still find myself getting burned out sometimes. The change of pace can definitely help. Enjoy your road trip!

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      You are so right. Having clutter and chaos kills creativity. Organizing and keeping the mind clear by exercising is very helpful. Voted up.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      Great ideas..I'm always looking for inspiration..always!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Not a problem for me! my creativity is due to my illness. My problem is hitting the right keys

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Donna, yes, for sure!

      Julie, I'm glad that this is helpful for you.

      Mhatter, sorry to hear that. We all have our own struggles, I suppose.

    • Virginia Lea profile image

      Virginia Davis 4 years ago from Ltitle Rock, Arkansas

      I like this article! =) VERY helpful!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, I'm glad!

    • Rschauhan profile image

      Rschauhan 4 years ago from Himachal Pradesh

      such a nice article with nicely written.The various aspects you have covered in it is really a good one.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Rschauhan!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Very good, sensible, useful advice here, Rose. I like the way you have built the hub step by step with practical and pragmatic solutions for online success. The creative mind is also quite disorganizes and can get indolent. Everyone needs to read this. voted up/

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Docmo! I'm glad that you think that the structure of this article will be helpful for others.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      I'm soo bookmarking this. I recently quit my teaching job to focus on writing and my art full time (and teach community college a little bit, too). That means I'll be hubbing, blogging, creating digital art and building a Zazzle store all the time now. Whew! This is such a timely hub. You have a great gift for creating hubs that I need right when I need them. Hehe. Right now, I'm in the process of creating a schedule for myself.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Haha, I'm glad that this worked out so well for you, Cyndi! Best of luck with all of your new endeavors! I do keep a schedule for myself each day. It makes a big difference for personal accountability.

    • myownlife profile image

      myownlife 4 years ago from london

      Fantastic procedures, this is very much important to every one has to set it and follow to be successful person in any field, Great job

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! Yes, I agree.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Thanks for the ideas Randomcreative! The hardest part for me is getting off the computer when I have some down time. I find, however, ideas flow better when I'm outside walking, jogging, or taking pictures. Voted up and shared! Kelley

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm the same way, Kelley. Thanks!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hi Randomcreative and thanks for the ideas. I love nature and find it

      inspiring to drive out to far away and rural places - away from city and urban life - this helps my creative juices flowing.

      Voted up

      John

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, John! That's great that you're able to find inspiration in natural settings.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      Great hub and thanks for giving encouragement to all writers who sometimes struggle to have a good idea to write. Voted up and more.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I love the headings you've created - very catchy! These are fantastic tips - I especially like the one about setting a time limit for looking up information online, it's so easy to get distracted and then lose a whole afternoon looking at all sorts of things - but not what you started out looking for in the first place. I will use some of these tips for sure :)

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, ignugent! I'm glad that you found encouragement here.

      Thanks so much, MelChi! You are right about how easy it is to get distracted. Since I started freelance writing, I have become very disciplined about general Internet browsing and concentrated researching. Otherwise an hour can go by just like that and nothing gets accomplished.

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Really informative and timely hub! From time to time there are going to be periods when inspiration is going to be hard to come by. But your tips definitely can help to conquer those moments. A few of them I already try to implement (such as setting goals, listening to music is also a big one for me). The others I will have to keep in mind for future reference. Thanks for the excellent resource!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm so glad that this is helpful for you, spartucusjones! Best of luck.

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Beautifully done and lots of great tips here! I'm so glad I clicked. :^) I do some of these, but my favorite by far is the one on reorganizing. Who remembers everything in their craft closet? Good one.

      Voted up and useful. Thanks!

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 4 years ago

      Keep all your great points in mind...that's wonderful tips, thanks for the sharing randomcreative, be blessed...

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, theclevercat! You're right about reorganizing. Rediscovering something old that you can use feels just as good as buying something new. It can also help you get out of a rut. It's easy to keep using the system that's in place instead of reevaluating why it isn't working so well.

      Thank you much, Injured lamb!

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      A really good hub, yes all of us do run out of ideas a lot of times! It is really useful to read this, gear up and get back to writing :)

      Thank you, Voted up!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm glad that this is useful for you, shruti!

      Yes, for sure! That's great. :)

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 4 years ago from Texas

      This is truly a fabulous resource. I know that I will be returning here again and again. Bookmarking this one as a resource to help me through those times.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, homesteadbound!

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Great advice for us all! I recently bought some plants and framed some more pictures to make my office more inspiring. It seems to have worked as I've been writing loads more! Voted up!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Peanutritious! That's great about your office. :)

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Great tips, thank you rose for writing this hub useful for many writers.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, jainismus!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Such great tips and very simple ones that can make a big difference. Voted up and sharing!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Crystal! You're right that some of the most simple tips can make a big difference.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      These are all great ideas that will make a big difference. Taking time off, brainstorming, and looking around for inspiration all help come up with ideas, but the most important one is to work a few minutes a day. You don't have to have large blocks of time. Voted up.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Shasta! You are absolutely right. Finding time every day can make all the difference for keeping the momentum going.

    • Little Grandmommy profile image

      Gail 4 years ago from Small Town Tennessee

      I really like the ideas you presented here. I'm definitely going to try these suggestions! Really terrific hub! Thanks!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, Little Grandmommy! So glad to hear it.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I need to do so many of these! Get back to regular exercise, organize my workspace, and get focused. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Regular exercise is one of my priorities for 2013, too. Best of luck with everything!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      There's some really great suggestions in here, and I love the layout. I'm going to use some of your ideas, and will be sharing this.

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

      Can't say much others have not . . . great suggestions, and a very attractive hub. Voted "useful." :-)

    • web923 profile image

      Bill Blackburn 4 years ago from Twentynine Palms, California

      This was great! Many good ideas on pulling it all together and getting out of the slump or writers block. Thank you! Awesome and up!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Kathy, Kris, and Web! Kathy, so glad that you're able to use some of these ideas.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Wow, this is a fantastic article! It is very pleasing to the eye, and the topic is relevant to me. I have been struggling to keep up a productive routine. It is so easy to get sidetracked when I have an entire day ahead of me, and a wonderful but distracting computer. I always have to make and maintain focus on my goals, or I won't get anything done.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Kathryn! It took me a while to build a regular routine as a freelancer and still takes discipline to keep it up on a daily basis. I'm glad that this article is helpful for you. Best of luck with everything. :)

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Wonderful suggestions, and your headings and dividers are so cute, very creative! Voted up and shared.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Beautiful hub with plenty of great suggestions. I just recently ahd to change my work space up from being mostly geared toward art to being artist and writer friendly. It helps a lot! No more digging to find which supplies I need at the moment!

      Love what you said about giving up something like Twitter if it isn't working out. I found off first thing that learning and keeping up with ALL social sites made for very little writing time, and wasn't gaining me any traffic anyhow. But it was nice to hear the go-ahead from a talented writer like yourself!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      Despite the technology I also buy stuff like magazines and books. I don't want to lose touch with what I used to do, besides. Great hub, in content and visually. Up and useful. :)

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      A very interesting hub with so many ideas and advice. This has given me an idea to look for other things that might help improve my enthusiasm and lift my spirit. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Voted up, sharing and pinning!

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

      I truly in all 61 years of my life have never run out of a creative idea. I have the opposite problem - as has my daughter - that I have so many, I could never use them all.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Great tips for moving and creating, but I also find it a bit overwhelming with how much there is around to write about. That sometimes creates a problem for me. I can imagine that, like the comment from Sophia, there are others who may not have a real problem coming up with ideas, but a problem with organizing and the putting those ideas on paper or turned into art. It's like a syndrome of some kind - so much inspiration, no time to get to it all.

      The organization tips to aid in creativity are definitely helpful! Sharing!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Sherry!

      Sharkye11, that's great that changing up your workspace was very beneficial for you.

      FullOfLoveSites, I agree with you about magazines and books.

      livingsta, it's great to hear that! Best of luck to you. :)

      Sophia and Cyndi, I never have problems coming up with creative ideas either. I will never find time for all of the projects that I want to explore, which includes article ideas here.

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